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Arterial Blood Gases-ABGs
What are ABGs?
ABGs, or Arterial Blood Gases, are a measurement of the body's acid/base balance and oxygenation status. pH -the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+)
normal pH=7.35-7.45
paCO2 -the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (acid) in the blood, some of which is on its way to the lungs to be "blown off" in respiration. normal paCO2= 35-45 mmHg HCO3- -or bicarbonate (base, or alkali) is regulated mainly by the kidneys, and is part of the carbonic acid/bicarbonate buffer system. normal HCO3- =22-26mEq/L

ABGs that inform about oxygenation status
paO2 -the partial pressure exerted by oxygen in the blood. It affects how much O2 can dissolve in the blood that is destined for transport via the lungs to the tissues. normal paO2 =75 to 100mmHg

O2 sat -(O2 saturation)-the ratio of the amount of oxygen in the arterial blood to the amount that the hemoglobin could carry normal O2 sat is 94 - 100%

Why are ABGs important?
Our survival depends upon the body's ability to regulate acid/base balance--to eliminate excess acids of normal metabolism and to compensate for disturbances due to illness or injury. A myriad of enzymes, required for essential biochemical reactions in our cells, function best within a specific range of pH. Failure of the body to regulate acid/base balance can impair these critical enzyme functions. By measuring arterial blood gases, and correlating the results with other diagnostic and clinical data, we can assess of how well these regulatory mechanisms are working. Proper intervention depends upon understanding how to interpret arterial blood gas results. How does the body regulate acid/base balance?

The lungs are involved in acid/base regulation via the carbonic/bicarbonate buffer system. Carbonic acid (H2CO3-) is converted to...
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