What are the components of an arterial blood gas (ABG)?

module 09 – fluid and electrolytes and acid base balance assignments | practical nursing 1 | Rasmussen College System

What is an arterial blood gas (ABG), and what are its components?
An arterial blood gas (ABG), is composed of pH, partial oxygen pressure (PaO2) and partial carbon dioxide pressure (PaCO2) as well as bicarbonate level, (HCO3+), and oxygen saturation.

2. Define the norm ranges for each component.
The normal ranges for each ABG component vary depending on a person’s age and health condition; however, in general, the expected values are as follows:
pH: 7.35 – 7.45; PaO2 80 – 100 mm Hg; PaCO2 35 – 45 mm Hg; HCO3- 22 – 26 mEq/L; Oxygen Saturation 95% – 100%.
Due to the differences in methods and reagents used for measuring these levels, laboratory values may differ slightly.

3. What is one problem you can diagnose with ABG?
One respiratory problem that can be identified through ABG results is acute respiratory acidosis which may occur if there is decreased breathing rate or depth leading to an accumulation of CO2 in the bloodstream resulting in increased acidity and lower pH levels than normal (<7.35). Other indicators include elevated PCO2 (>45mmHg) and lowered HCO3- (<22mEq/L). Treatment usually involves the administration of supplemental oxygen in order to correct hypoxia and any other underlying diseases such as asthma or pneumonia exacerbation.

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