Hypoxemia: What are the causes?

content provided by mayoclinic.com

Hypoxemia: What are the causes?


What causes hypoxemia?

No name
No state given


Hypoxemia, or low blood oxygen, isn't a disease but a sign of an underlying problem. It can have many causes, including:

  • High altitudes
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • Severe pneumonia
  • Fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema)
  • Congenital heart disease  

The main symptom of hypoxemia is shortness of breath. Blood oxygen content can be measured by a blood test or by a pulse oximeter, a small device that's clipped on your finger like a clothespin.

Severe hypoxemia can be life-threatening. Treatment of hypoxemia depends on the underlying cause.

Last Updated: 10/05/2006
© 1998-2016 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use


Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version