Understanding arterial blood gases can sometimes be confusing. A logical and systematic approach using these steps makes interpretation much easier. Applying the concepts of acidbase balance will help the healthcare provider follow the progress of a patient and evaluate the effectiveness of care being provided. Copyright 2004 Orlando Regional Healthcare, Education & Development Glossary ABG: arterial blood gas. A test that analyzes arterial blood for oxygen, carbon dioxide and bicarbonate content in addition to blood pH. Used to test the effectiveness of ventilation.
Acidosis: a pathologic state characterized by an increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions in the arterial blood above the normal level. May be caused by an accumulation of carbon dioxide or acidic products of metabolism or a by a decrease in the concentration of alkaline compounds. Alkalosis: a state characterized by a decrease in the hydrogen ion concentration of arterial blood below normal level. The condition may be caused by an increase in the concentration of alkaline compounds, or by decrease in the concentration of acidic compounds or carbon dioxide.
Chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD): a disease process involving chronic inflammation of the airways, including chronic bronchitis (disease in the large airways) and emphysema (disease located in smaller airways and alveolar regions). The obstruction is generally permanent and progressive over time. Diamox ™: a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor that decreases H+ ion secretion and increases HCO3 excretions by the kidneys, causing a diuretic effect.
Hyperventilation: a state in which there is an increased amount of air entering the pulmonary alveoli (increased alveolar ventilation), resulting in reduction of carbon dioxide tension and eventually leading to alkalosis. Hypoventilation: a state in which there is a reduced amount of air entering the pulmonary alveoli. Hypoxemia: below-normal oxygen content in arterial blood due to deficient oxygenation of the blood and resulting in hypoxia. Hypoxia: reduction of oxygen supply to tissue below physiological levels despite adequate perfusion of the tissue by blood.
Iatrogenic: any condition induced in a patient by the effects of medical treatment. Kussmaul’s respirations: abnormal breathing pattern brought on by strenuous exercise or metabolic acidosis, and is characterized by an increased ventilatory rate, very large tidal volume, and no expiratory pause. Oxygen delivery system: a device used to deliver oxygen concentrations above ambient air to the lungs through the upper airway. Oxygenation: the process of supplying, treating or mixing with oxygen.
Oxyhemoglobin: hemoglobin in combination with oxygen. Pneumothorax: an abnormal state characterized by the presence of gas (as air) in the plueral cavity. Pulmonary Embolism: the lodgment of a blood clot in the lumen of a pulmonary artery, causing a severe dysfunction in respiratory function. Thyrotoxicosis: toxic condition due to hyperactivity of the thyroid gland. Symptoms include rapid heart rate, tremors, increased metabolic basal metabolism, nervous symptoms and loss of weight.