Current monitoring of critically ill patients uses measurement of global parameters such as oxygen consumption and lactate levels. With development of new monitoring technologies, it may be possible to monitor patients on an organ or tissue level, allowing manipulation of specific organ or tissue perfusion. Potentially useful techniques for monitoring tissue energetics in the future include NIR and NMR spectroscopy. However, both of these techniques are currently limited in their usefulness due to technical factors; NIR by its inability to monitor 'silent' metabolically active organs and NMR by its cost, size, and interference of magnetic fields with electronic equipment. Both of these techniques may be useful for identification of dysoxia or oxygen-limited mitochondrial turnover. Experimental evidence suggests that organs in the septic state are more sensitive to dysoxia. Implications for the care of the patient with sepsis include possible decreased tolerance to factors leading to dysoxia, such as hypoxemia, hemodilution, or ischemia.