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This is characterised by reduced PaCO2, normal or slightly reduced serum bicarbonate, and a raised pH.
A respiratory alkalosis may be pure or it may be complicated by a metabolic derangement (i.e. a mixed alkalosis). Measurement of the serum bicarbonate permits definitive diagnosis:
- acute respiratory alkalosis:
- serum bicarbonate decreases by 2 mM for every 10 mmHg (or 1.33kPa) decrease in PaCO2
- chronic respiratory alkalosis:
- serum bicarbonate decreases 5 mM for every 10 mmHg decrease in PaCO2
- if the serum bicarbonate is higher than expected then the condition is likely to be a mixed metabolic alkalosis and respiratory alkalosis
- if the serum bicarbonate is lower than expected then the condition is likely to be a mixed metabolic acidosis and respiratory alkalosis
Last reviewed 10/2018