Arterial blood gases
- Arthur C Theodore, MD
Arthur C Theodore, MD
- Associate Professor of Medicine
- Boston University School of Medicine
An arterial blood gas (ABG) is a test that measures the oxygen tension (PaO2), carbon dioxide tension (PaCO2), acidity (pH), oxyhemoglobin saturation (SaO2), and bicarbonate (HCO3) concentration in arterial blood. Some blood gas analyzers also measure the methemoglobin, carboxyhemoglobin, and hemoglobin levels. Such information is vital when caring for patients with critical illness, respiratory, or metabolic diseases.
The sites, techniques, and complications of arterial sampling and the interpretation of ABGs are reviewed here. Interpretation of venous blood gases and detailed discussion of acid-base disturbances are discussed separately. (See "Simple and mixed acid-base disorders" and "Venous blood gases and other alternatives to arterial blood gases".)
INDICATIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS
Arterial blood gases (ABGs) are frequently used for the following:
●Identification and monitoring of acid-base disturbances
●Measurement of the partial pressures of oxygen (PaO2) and carbon dioxide (PaCO2)
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- INDICATIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS
- TECHNICAL CHALLENGES
- ARTERIAL SAMPLING
- Needle puncture
- - Site selection
- - Ensure collateral circulation
- - Equipment
- - Technique
- - Postprocedural care
- - Complications
- Indwelling catheters
- TRANSPORT AND ANALYSIS
- Normal values
- - Hypoxemia
- - Hyperoxia
- - Respiratory acidosis
- - Respiratory alkalosis
- Acid-base balance
- Abnormal hemoglobins
- - Carboxyhemoglobinemia
- - Methemoglobinemia
- Sources of error
- SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS