Article Text

Download PDFPDF
An evaluation of the normal range of StO2 measurements at rest and following a mixed exercise protocol
  1. Tom Barker1,
  2. P Spencer2,
  3. E Kirkman2,
  4. A Lambert3 and
  5. M Midwinter1
  1. 1Academic Department of Military Surgery and Trauma, The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Defence Science & Technology Laboratory, Salisbury, UK
  3. 3Department of Surgery, Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit Derriford, Plymouth, UK
  1. Correspondence to Maj Tom Barker, Academic Department of Military Surgery and Trauma, The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TH, UK; tombarker{at}


Background Assessment of local tissue oxygenation (StO2) using near infrared spectroscopy is an emerging technique in medical practice with applications in trauma/sepsis management, diagnosis of acute compartment syndrome and assessment of tissue viability. Despite this, there have been little published data on the range of StO2 values in normal subjects.

Methods StO2 measurements were recorded in 105 infantry soldiers using an INVOS System Monitor (Somanetics) from both deltoids, the anterior compartment of the leg and the frontal lobe of the brain. Measurements were taken at rest and following completion of a mixed exercise protocol, consisting of overarm pull-ups, sit-ups and a 3-mile run.

Results StO2 values at rest were found to have a wide normal range with a skew left distribution. Mean StO2 was similar between the deltoids (left deltoid 80%, right deltoid 79%), but significantly different between other anatomical sites (leg 68%, brain 73%). However, all sites demonstrated a similar lower range cut-off at approximately 40%. Following exercise, there was a significant increase in StO2 values at all sites (left deltoid by 3.1±2.0%, right deltoid by 2.6±2.3%, leg by 8.0±2.3% and brain by 8.6±1.9%), which persisted for at least 10 min.

Conclusions There were statistically significant differences in mean StO2 values recorded at different anatomical sites, although the reference ranges were wide and substantially overlapped. StO2 increased at all sites after exercise with the effect persisting for at least 10 min. The interaction between exercise and pathological phenomena remains unknown and is an area for further study.


Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.