Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) present with hypoxaemia and are mechanically ventilated to support gas exchange. We performed a retrospective, observational study of blood gas analyses (n = 3518) obtained from patients with COVID-19 to investigate changes in haemoglobin oxygen (Hb-O2 ) affinity. Calculated oxygen tension at half-saturation (p50 ) was on average (±SD) 3·3 (3·13) mmHg lower than the normal p50 value (23·4 vs. 26·7 mmHg; P < 0·0001). Compared to an unmatched historic control of patients with other causes of severe respiratory failure, patients with COVID-19 had a significantly higher Hb-O2 affinity (mean [SD] p50 23·4 [3·13] vs. 24·6 [5.4] mmHg; P < 0·0001). We hypothesise that, due to the long disease process, acclimatisation to hypoxaemia could play a role.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Haematol

Publication Date



haemoglobin, infection, oxygen affinity