Hypoxia and infection

It has long been recognized that ischemic wounds and tissues are particularly vulnerable to infection. The decrease in local perfusion means the inflammatory reaction cannot develop normally since it reduces the input of oxygen, polymorphonucleocytes and plasma-derived mediators. Hypoxia is the most important factor accounting for the body's inability to destroy bacteria38. Since Silver's work, it is known that pressures of oxygen are considerably decreased in the centre of an infective focus, sometimes only reaching 3 mmHg. This hypoxia is a consequence both of the decrease in oxygen input due to the decrease in local perfusion and to the increase in oxygen consumption induced by the inflammatory phenomena and the bacterial invasion39.

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