The oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve helps critical care nurses to better understand how various factors affect the oxygenation status of patients. Disease processes or treatment modalities that may cause shifts in the curve should be identified and the effects of the increased or decreased affinity assessed. Knowledge of conditions that affect hemoglobin-oxygen affinity, results of careful patient assessment, and oxygenation monitor readings allow critical care nurses to intervene and attempt to correct tissue hypoxia of critically ill patients.

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