Arterial blood gases made easy

By | 08.10.2018

ABGs are drawn for a variety of reasons. Seemingly small abnormalities in pH have very significant and wide-spanning effects on the physiology of the human body. The base excess is another surrogate marker of metabolic acidosis or alkalosis. Alert me to new issues of Clin Med.

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Know Your ABG's: Arterial Blood Gases Explained |

Compensation We now know that the patient has a metabolic acidosis and therefore we can look back at the CO 2 to see if the respiratory system is attempting to compensate for the metabolic derangement. The first value is the pH, which measures how many hydrogen ions are in the sample. Normal range for CO 2 is 35 to 45mmHg.

Is the HCO 3- outside its normal ranges?

ABG interpretation

Reduced ventilation and normal perfusion — e. If the ABG lbood alkalosis or acidosis you need to then begin considering what is driving this abnormality by moving through the next steps below.

To see how to perform an arterial blood gas check out our arterail here. A non-compensated or uncompensated abnormality usually represents an acute change occurring in the body.

Respiratory alkalosis is caused by excessive alveolar ventilation hyperventilation resulting in more CO 2 than normal being exhaled.

Interpreting ABGs: Simple and Easy

If the other system is within normal ranges, then the problem is non-compensated or uncompensated. However, if the other component has gone outside its normal reference ranges, we can think of it as compensation occurring the body is trying to fix the problem.

When a patient is retaining CO 2 the blood will, therefore, become more acidic from the increase in carbonic acid. Overly complex explanations can be a barrier to a working understanding of the basics. This is where it can get tricky. An ABG is performed on room air.

A year-old female presents to hospital with drowsiness and dehydration. Asking the help of more senior clinical nurses and respiratory therapists will allow novice nurses to master this skill. The problem with this measurement is that it is markedly affected by P a CO 2.

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Paula Zaininger Junior doctor with a special interest in medical education. So far we have discussed how to determine what the acid-base disturbance is, once we have this established we need to consider the underlying pathology that is driving this disturbance.

Yet most doctors struggle with interpretation of this common test. Respiratory acidosis is caused by inadequate alveolar ventilation leading to CO 2 retention.

No, the pH is not within normal ranges, so there is partial compensation occurring. If one system is disturbed, the other tries to restore balance. If a clinician wishes to obtain these values, a SuperGas is run.

Interpreting ABGs | Ausmed | Tips for Nurses

Check out our new ABG quiz? The CO 2 is low, which rules out the respiratory system as the cause of the acidosis as we would expect it to be raised if this was the case. Indeed, the combination is common in severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, for example. Alkalosis is the opposite. So the body is mad to fix this problem. The revenue we generate from these adverts allows us to keep the website free. For this reason, arterial testing has become the gold standard in sick patients who are at risk for sudden decompensation or those with a respiratory component.

What is the base excess? Piecing this information together with the HCO 3 — we can complete the picture.

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