Intensive Care Medicine

, 34:2218 | Cite as

Central venous-to-arterial carbon dioxide difference: an additional target for goal-directed therapy in septic shock?

  • Fabrice ValléeEmail author
  • Benoit Vallet
  • Olivier Mathe
  • Jacqueline Parraguette
  • Arnaud Mari
  • Stein Silva
  • Kamran Samii
  • Olivier Fourcade
  • Michèle Genestal



To test the hypothesis that, in resuscitated septic shock patients, central venous-to-arterial carbon dioxide difference [P(cv-a)CO2] may serve as a global index of tissue perfusion when the central venous oxygen saturation (ScvO2) goal value has already been reached.


Prospective observational study.


A 22-bed intensive care unit (ICU).


After early resuscitation in the emergency unit, 50 consecutive septic shock patients with ScvO2 > 70% were included immediately after their admission into the ICU (T0). Patients were separated in Low P(cv-a)CO2 group (Low gap; n = 26) and High P(cv-a)CO2 group (High gap; n = 24) according to a threshold of 6 mmHg at T0.


Measurements were performed every 6 h over 12 h (T0, T6, T12).


At T0, there was a significant difference between Low gap patients and High gap patients for cardiac index (CI) (4.3 ± 1.6 vs. 2.7 ± 0.8 l/min/m², P < 0.0001) but not for ScvO2 values (78 ± 5 vs. 75 ± 5%, P = 0.07). From T0 to T12, the clearance of lactate was significantly larger for the Low gap group than for the High gap group (P < 0.05) as well as the decrease of SOFA score at T24 (P < 0.01). At T0, T6 and T12, CI and P(cv-a)CO2 values were inversely correlated (P < 0.0001).


In ICU-resuscitated patients, targeting only ScvO2 may not be sufficient to guide therapy. When the 70% ScvO2 goal-value is reached, the presence of a P(cv-a)CO2 larger than 6 mmHg might be a useful tool to identify patients who still remain inadequately resuscitated.


Venous CO2 ScvO2 Lactate Septic shock Goal-directed therapy Cardiac index 

Supplementary material

134_2008_1199_MOESM1_ESM.doc (40 kb)
ESM Figure 1: Correlation between CI and P(cv-a)CO2 at each time. T0: r = 0.57, p<0.0001; T6: r = 0.58, p<0.0001 and T12 : r = 0.58, p<0.0001 (DOC 40 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabrice Vallée
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Benoit Vallet
    • 2
  • Olivier Mathe
    • 1
  • Jacqueline Parraguette
    • 1
  • Arnaud Mari
    • 1
  • Stein Silva
    • 1
  • Kamran Samii
    • 1
  • Olivier Fourcade
    • 1
  • Michèle Genestal
    • 1
  1. 1.Pôle d’Anesthésie et Réanimation, Unité de Réanimation Polyvalente de Purpan, GRCB 48Université Paul SabatierCHU de ToulouseFrance
  2. 2.Pôle d’Anesthésie et Réanimation, Hôpital HuriezUniversité Lille IICHU de LilleFrance
  3. 3.Réanimation polyvalente adulteHôpital PurpanToulouse Cedex 9France

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