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Clarifying the Confusion of Arterial Blood Gas Analysis

Is it Compensation or Combination?

Pompey, Joyce, DNP, RN-BC; Abraham-Settles, Betty, DNP, RN-BC

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: March 2019 - Volume 119 - Issue 3 - p 52–56
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000554035.74335.59
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Arterial blood gas (ABG) analysis assesses the adequacy of ventilation, oxygenation, and the acid–base status of the body by measuring the levels of pH, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and bicarbonate in arterial blood. Interpretation of ABG results, which can play a major role in diagnosis and treatment of patients with pulmonary and other critical conditions, can sometimes be difficult. This article focuses on basic ABG analysis and interpretation, discusses the combinations of imbalances that may occur, and reviews the compensatory mechanisms that arise as a result.

Joyce Pompey is an associate professor in the Department of Nursing, University of South Carolina Aiken, Aiken, SC, where Betty Abraham-Settles is an assistant professor. Contact author: Joyce Pompey, joycep@usca.edu. The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

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