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ABG Interpretation
 
 

Assessing the PaCOâ‚‚

 
 
 
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Overview

The PaCOâ‚‚ is the arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide, as measured on an arterial blood gas.
An increase or decrease in the PaCOâ‚‚ level suggests the presence of a respiratory process causing an acid-base imbalance. This can either be primary (the derangement is due to a respiratory issue) or secondary (there is respiratory compensation for a metabolic issue).
    • Normal Range

    • 36 - 44 mmHg

Hypercapnia

An increased PaCOâ‚‚ of greater than 44 mmHg on an arterial blood gas suggests the presence of a respiratory process - either primary (respiratory acidosis) or secondary (respiratory compensation of metabolic alkalosis).
  • Interpretation

  • Reduced pH with elevated PCOâ‚‚ - suggests respiratory acidosis
  • Elevated pH with elevated PCOâ‚‚ and elevated HCO₃ - suggests respiratory compensation for metabolic alkalosis
  • Normal pH with elevated PCOâ‚‚ and elevated HCO₃ - suggests mixed respiratory acidosis-metabolic alkalosis

Hypocapnia

A reduced PaCOâ‚‚ of less than 36 mmHg on an arterial blood gas suggests the presence of a respiratory process - either primary (respiratory alkalosis) or secondary (respiratory compensation of metabolic acidosis).
  • Interpretation

  • Elevated pH with reduced PCOâ‚‚ - suggests respiratory alkalosis
  • Reduced pH with reduced PCOâ‚‚ and reduced HCO₃ - suggests respiratory compensation for metabolic acidosis
  • Normal pH with reduced PCOâ‚‚ and reduced HCO₃ - suggests mixed respiratory alkalosis-metabolic acidosis
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