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Arterial blood gas
Additional recommended knowledge
Its main use is in pulmonology, to determine gas exchange levels in the blood related to lung function, but it is also used in nephrology, and used to evaluate metabolic disorders such as acidosis and alkalosis.
Extraction and Analysis
Arterial blood for blood gasses is usually extracted by a phlebotomist or nurse, and occasionally a respiratory therapist. Blood may be taken from an easily accessible artery (typically the radial artery, but during unusual or emergency situations the brachial or femoral artery may be used), or out of an arterial line.
The syringe is pre-packaged and contains a small amount of heparin, to prevent coagulation or needs to be heparinised, by drawing up a small amount of heparin and squirting it out again. Once the sample is obtained, care is taken to eliminate visible gas bubbles, as these bubbles can dissolve into the sample and cause inaccurate results. The sealed syringe is taken to a blood gas analyzer. If the sample cannot be immediately analyzed, it is chilled in an ice bath in a glass syringe to slow metabolic processes which can cause inaccuracy. Samples drawn in plastic syringes should not be iced and should be analyzed within 30 minutes.
The machine used for analysis aspirates this blood from the syringe and measures the pH and the partial pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide. The bicarbonate concentration is also calculated. These results are usually available for interpretion within five minutes.
Reference ranges and interpretation
These are typical reference ranges, although various analysers and laboratories may employ different ranges.
Contamination with room air will result in abnormally low carbon dioxide and (generally) normal oxygen levels. Delays in analysis (without chilling) may result in inaccurately low oxygen and high carbon dioxide levels as a result of ongoing cellular respiration.
Lactate level analysis is often featured on blood gas machines in neonatal wards, as infants often have elevated lactic acid.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Arterial_blood_gas". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.