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Normal jugular bulb oxygen saturation
  1. A Chieregato1,
  2. F Calzolari2,
  3. G Trasforini3,
  4. L Targa1,
  5. N Latronico4
  1. 1Department of Anesthesiology-Intensive Care, Section of Neurocritical Care, Ospedale Civile M. Bufalini, Cesena, Italy
  2. 2Department of Neuroradiology, Arcispedale S. Anna, Ferrara, Italy
  3. 3Department of Clinical Endocrinology, University of Ferrara, Italy
  4. 4Institute of Anesthesiology-Intensive Care, University of Brescia, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr A Chieregato, Via Boccacanale S. Stefano no. 25, 44100 Ferrara, Italy; 


Background: Normal values of the jugular bulb oxygen saturation were obtained in 1942 and in 1963. Correct catheter positioning was not confirmed radiologically.

Objectives: To replicate the measurements during angiographic catheterisation of the jugular bulb.

Methods: Oxygen saturation in the jugular bulb (SjO2), inferior petrosal sinus (SipsO2), and internal jugular vein was bilaterally measured in 12 patients with Cushing’s syndrome undergoing selective bilateral catheterisation of the inferior petrosal sinus. In addition, data from the two old series were reanalysed for comparison.

Results: SjO2 values (44.7%) were significantly lower than in the two old series, particularly concerning the normal lower limit (54.6% and 55.0% respectively). Comparative analysis suggests that contamination with the extracerebral blood of the facial veins and inferior petrosal sinuses was responsible for falsely high SjO2 values in the two old series.

Conclusions: The normal lower SjO2 limit is lower than previously recognised. This may have practical implications for treating severe head trauma patients.

  • monitoring
  • brain injury
  • jugular desaturation
  • extracerebral blood contamination
  • ACTH, adrenocorticotrophin hormone
  • ANOVA, analysis of variance
  • CBF, cerebral blood flow
  • CMRO2, cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen
  • CNS, central nervous system
  • CRH, corticotrophin releasing hormone
  • SjO2, jugular bulb oxygen saturation
  • SipsO2
  • inferior petrosal sinus oxygen saturation

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  • Competing interests: none declared