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Definition of Hypoxemia

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Hypoxemia: abnormally low levels of oxygen in the blood. Hypoxemia may be mild to severe and leads to shortness of breath. Low blood oxygen can result from a variety of conditions that affect either the ability of the heart to pump blood to the lungs to receive oxygen or the function of the lungs themselves. Breathing at high altitudes can also cause hypoxemia. The level of oxygen in the blood can be measured by a test performed on a sample of arterial blood (referred to as an arterial blood gas measurement) or by an instrument known as a pulse oximeter , which is clipped onto the finger.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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