The chemical balance of body fluids is of enormous clinical importance, since it is acritical factor in all metabolic and cellular functions. The body's own regulatorymechanisms usually retain this balancewithin normal limits, but certain disease processes, illnesses and treatments can causeimbalances that may even become lifethreatening, unless appropriate interventionsare implemented. Acid base balance refers tothe hydrogen ion concentration of all bodyfluids, which is determined by chemicalsubstances present in the blood and other body fluids.Arterial Blood Gas interpretation is an easyskill to master. It simply requires an understanding of pH, the respiratory component (pCO2), ametabolic component (HCO3 and/or Base Excess), what they represent, and what the normalranges are.I.
In chemistry class we learned that pH describes the concentration of hydrogen ions, and that a pH of 7.0 is perfectly neutral. The
acceptable pH range of our blood is 7.35 – 7.45
, which isslightly alkaline. The body needs to maintain the pH of its chemical broth within fairly narrowlimits for proper body functioning. The body’s own regulatory mechanisms usually maintainthis balance, but certain disease processes, illnesses, and treatments can cause imbalances thatmay become life threatening unless appropriate interventions are implemented. A pH that is lessthan 7.0 or greater than 7.7 is not compatible with life.
The first step in interpreting ABG results is to determine if the pH represents acidosis oralkalosis, or is perfectly normal
For purposes of ABG interpretation, we will consider themiddle of the acceptable range (7.4) as neutral for the blood, any value less than 7.4 as acidotic,and any value higher than 7.4 as alkalotic.
a c i d o t i c a l k a l o t i c
pH 7.35-7.45pCO2 35-45