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Assessment of what is going on

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Assessment of acid base disorders requires knowledge of:

  • respiratory component - PCO2
  • metabolic component:
    • standard bicarbonate
    • base excess - greater than three implies metabolic alkalosis, less than minus three implies metabolic acidosis

There is usually a correspondence between respiratory performance and the metabolic derangement, e.g. a moderate metabolic acidosis will cause moderate hyperventilation. If this correspondence breaks down then another pathology should be suspected.

Understanding what is going on may be helped by a working knowledge of the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation.

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