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Arterial Blood Gas

Arterial blood gas results are used to assess tissue oxygenation, ventilation and acid-base status. Parameters included in a blood gas are: pH, PO2, PCO2, base excess, and bicarbonate. The Sanz electrode with pH sensitive glass measures the change in hydrogen concentration across the pH sensitive glass membrane. The Severinghaus electrode, which in principle is a pH electrode, measures CO2 tension by allowing the CO2 gas to undergo a chemical reaction to produce hydrogen ions. The Clark electrode measures oxygen by electron consumption. Base excess and bicarbonate are calculated values.

Reference ranges are:


80 - 100 mm Hg


35 - 45 mm Hg


7.35 -7.45


21 - 28 mEq/L

Base Excess

+/- 3 mEq/L


Traditionally, arterial specimens were collected in glass syringes and placed in an ice slurry f

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