ABG Interpretation Basics

Before we begin analyzing abgs we need to have the normal values:

  • pH 7.35
  • pCO2 35-45
  • Bicarb 22-26
  • Po2 80-1000

First thing you look at is the pH, is it normal? If it is then it is compensated. If the pH is not normal it is uncompensated.

When the pH is low it is called acidosis.  When the pH is high it is called alkalosis.  (I like to remember it by the c in acidosis is lower in the alphabet then the l in alkalosis is)

If the pCo2 is abnormal it is a respiratory issue.

If the bicarb is abnormal it is a metabolic issue.  

If the pO2 is low their is hypoxemia present


Get your free Basic ABG analysis tip sheet and 6 examples explained here 

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