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Medical Term:

oxygen toxicity


  1. a bodily disturbance resulting from breathing high partial pressures of oxygen; characterized by visual and hearing abnormalities, unusual fatigue while breathing, muscular twitching, anxiety, confusion, incoordination, and convulsions; can occur when excessive quantities of oxygen are administered in patients (such as during adult respiratory distress syndrome), resulting in worsening of pulmonary infiltrates and clinical deterioration; although the mechanism for development of the condition is obscure, a disruption of enzymatic activity is likely, perhaps as a result of free radical formation.
  2. exposure of the lungs to greater than 60% oxygen for periods exceeding 24–48 hours can lead to severe, irreversible pulmonary fibrosis.

Synonym(s): oxygen poisoning

© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.