Arterial Blood Gases
(ABGs)

Alternate Names

  • Blood Gases

Arterial blood gases measures numerous blood values to determine how well your lungs and other organs are working to transport oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.

pH is a measurement of the acid/base balance in the blood, and is used to monitor how well your kidneys are functioning.

PCO2 measures the pressure of blood CO2 (carbon dioxide), and is used to monitor how well your lungs are working to remove the waste product carbon dioxide from your body. Carbon dioxide levels also affect blood pH levels.

HCO3 (bicarbonate) is an indirect way to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood, and is used to monitor how well your kidneys are functioning.

PO2 is an indirect way to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood, and is used to evaluate how well your lungs are functioning.

O2 saturation measures the amount of oxygen that is bound to hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to all the cells of the body.

O2 content is a number that is calculated by a mathematical formula, which indicates the total amount of oxygen in the blood.

Base excess/deficit is another calculation that uses hematocrit, PCO2, and pH values to determine the amount of blood components that affect the acidity of your blood.

There is more pain when blood is drawn from an artery than from a vein, and you may receive an injection of lidocaine (a local anesthetic) before the blood is drawn. Pressure will be applied for at least five minutes after the test to ensure blood clotting, and a pressure dressing may also be applied to the site.

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