med 610 clinical respiratory diseases & critcare med

Arterial Blood Gas Testing

Arterial blood gases play an important role in the work-up and management of critically ill patients and patients with a variety of pulmonary complaints and other disorders. For example, they are used to guide the adjustment of ventilator parameters on mechanically ventilated patients and are also a standard part of the work-up of patients who present with unexplained hypoxemia, dyspnea and metabolic disorders. It is, therefore, important that students and physicians be able to interpret the results of arterial blood gas sampling, determine the patient’s acid-base status and assess the adequacy of oxygenation. This page contains a variety of materials designed to help you improve your skills in this regard, including:

  • A primer of arterial blood gas analysis
  • Clinical cases
  • Links to other educations materials on the topic

A Primer on Arterial Blood Gas Analysis

A Primer on Arterial Blood Gas Analysis is a tutorial on how to interpret the results of arterial blood gas testing written by Andrew M. Luks, MD.

Print primer [237k PDF*] (UWNet ID required)

Clinical Cases In Arterial Blood Gas Analysis

Here is a series of clinical cases involving patients and arterial blood gases.
Go to cases>>

The answers are available via a link at the bottom of each case. You are encouraged to try and answer the questions in the cases on your own before viewing the answers.

Download case document [56k MSWord doc]
Download answer document [76k MSWord doc]

Additional Reading Materials on Arterial Blood Gas Analysis

Arterial Blood Gas Tutorial

This website contains a nice overview of arterial blood gas analysis with multiple pages covering different aspects of acid-base physiology and analysis of blood gas results. (Opens in a new window.)

"Arterial Blood Gas Interpretation" lecture

PDF* version of a Society for Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) lecture on arterial blood gas analysis (opens in a new window).

University of Connecticut Acid-Base Online Tutorial

This site contains information on acid-base physiology, common acid-base abnormalities, cases and pearls of arterial blood gas interpretation. (Opens in a new window.)

Arterial Blood Gas Sampling

Dalhousie University On-line Video Tutorial (Video opens in a new window and starts on load.)

Placement of an Arterial Line

New England Journal of Medicine On-line Video Tutorial (Video opens in a new window.)

Murray and Nadel’s Textbook of Respiratory Medicine 4th Ed

This textbook contains a section on acid-base physiology. It can be accessed through MDConsult (Opens in a new window.) (UWNet ID required).

HuBio 541 Syllabus:

The syllabus for HuBio 541: The Respiratory System, contains a chapter on acid-base physiology: (Opens in a new window) (UWNet ID required)

  • Scroll down and click on Chapter 6 Acid-Base Balance.

*Software capable of displaying a PDF is required for viewing or printing. You may download a free copy of Adobe Reader from the Adobe website.

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