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Arterial blood gases (ABGs), venous blood gases, capillary blood gases, cord blood gases.
To assess oxygenation and acid-base balance.
There are no food, fluid, activity, or medication restrictions unless by medical direction.
Method: Selective electrodes for pH, Pco2, and Po2.
|Blood Gas Value (pH)||Arterial||Venous||Capillary|
|Birth, cord, full term||7.11–7.36||7.25–7.45||7.32–7.49|
|Note: SI units (conversion factor × 1).|
|Pco2||Arterial||SI Units (Conventional Units × 0.133)||Venous||SI Units (Conventional Units × 0.133)||Capillary||SI Units (Conventional Units × 0.133)|
|Scalp||—||—||—||—||40–50 mm Hg||5.3–6.6 kPa|
|Birth, cord, full term||32–66 mm Hg||4.3–8.8 kPa||27–49 mm Hg||3.6–6.5 kPa||—||—|
|Newborn–adult||35–45 mm Hg||4.7–6 kPa||41–51 mm Hg||5.4–6.8 kPa||26–41 mm Hg||3.5–5.4 kPa|
|Po2||Arterial||SI Units (Conventional Units × 0.133)||Venous||SI Units (Conventional Units × 0.133)||Capillary||SI Units (Conventional Units × 0.133)|
|Scalp||—||—||—||—||20–30 mm Hg||2.7–4 kPa|
|Birth, cord, full term||8–24 mm Hg||1.1–3.2 kPa||17–41 mm Hg||2.3–5.4 kPa||—||—|
|0–1 hr||33–85 mm Hg||4.4–11.3 kPa||—||—||—||—|
|Greater than 1 hr–adult||80–95 mm Hg||10.6–12.6 kPa||20–49 mm Hg||2.7–6.5 kPa||80–95 mm Hg||10.6–12.6 kPa|
|HCO3-||Arterial Conventional and SI Units||Venous Conventional and SI Units||Capillary Conventional and SI Units|
|Birth, cord, full term||17–24 mmol/L||17–24 mmol/L||—|
|2 mo–2 yr||16–23 mmol/L||24–28 mmol/L||18–23 mmol/L|
|Adult||22–26 mmol/L||24–28 mmol/L||18–23 mmol/L|
|Birth, cord, full term||40%–90%||40%–70%||—|
|Values may be at the lower end of the normal range in older adults.|
|Oxygen Content: Arterial||Oxygen Content: Venous|
|6.6–9.7 mmol/L ||4.9–7.1 mmol/L |
|Tco2||Arterial Conventional and SI Units mmol/L||Venous Conventional and SI Units mmol/L|
|Birth, cord, full term||13–22 mmol/L||14–22 mmol/L|
|Adult/child||22–29 mmol/L||25–30 mmol/L|
|Base Excess Arterial||Conventional and SI Units|
|Birth, cord, full term||(–10) – (–2) mmol/L|
|Adult/child||(–2) – (+3) mmol/L|
Critical Findings and Potential Interventions
Timely notification to the requesting health-care provider (HCP) of any critical findings and related symptoms is a role expectation of the professional nurse. A listing of these findings varies among facilities.
Consideration may be given to verification of critical findings before action is taken. Policies vary among facilities and may include requesting recollection and retesting by the laboratory.
|Arterial Blood Gas Parameter||Less Than||Greater Than|
|Adult/child||HCO3-||10 mmol/L||40 mmol/L|
|Adult/child||Pco2||20 mm Hg (SI: 2.7 kPa)||67 mm Hg (SI: 8.9 kPa)|
|Adult/child||Po2||45 mm Hg (SI: 6 kPa)|
|Newborns||Po2||37 mm Hg (SI: 4.9 kPa)||92 mm Hg (SI: 12.2 kPa)|
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Bladh, Mickey Lynn., and Anne M. Van Leeuwen. "Blood Gases." Davis's Lab & Diagnostic Tests, 7th ed., F.A. Davis Company, 2017. Nursing Central, nursing.unboundmedicine.com/nursingcentral/view/Davis-Lab-and-Diagnostic-Tests/425378/all/Blood_Gases.
Bladh ML, Van Leeuwen AM. Blood Gases. Davis's Lab & Diagnostic Tests. 7th ed. F.A. Davis Company; 2017. https://nursing.unboundmedicine.com/nursingcentral/view/Davis-Lab-and-Diagnostic-Tests/425378/all/Blood_Gases. Accessed November 20, 2019.
Bladh, M. L., & Van Leeuwen, A. M. (2017). Blood Gases. In Davis's Lab & Diagnostic Tests. Available from https://nursing.unboundmedicine.com/nursingcentral/view/Davis-Lab-and-Diagnostic-Tests/425378/all/Blood_Gases
Bladh ML, Van Leeuwen AM. Blood Gases [Internet]. In: Davis's Lab & Diagnostic Tests. F.A. Davis Company; 2017. [cited 2019 November 20]. Available from: https://nursing.unboundmedicine.com/nursingcentral/view/Davis-Lab-and-Diagnostic-Tests/425378/all/Blood_Gases.
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