what are "blood gases"

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Re : what are "blood gases"

Post by angelical » Wed Mar 10, 2004 01:13 pm

Yup, here's what I found with a Google search. (it had been too long for me to remember) [:)]

www.pediatrix.com/parents/Neonatal_Medicine/ Tests/tests-bloodgases.html

Tests in the NICU

Blood Gases


A blood gas is a test performed on a small sample of the infant's blood to evaluate the effectiveness of their breathing.

A blood gas is obtained as follows:

A blood sample is obtained from the infant's heel, an artery, or an indwelling arterial catheter (PAL or UAC). A blood gas from an artery is an ABG and from a capillary is a CBG.
The blood is analyzed on a special machine by a respiratory therapist.
The result is available within minutes of being drawn.
The results are reported as follows:
pH – indicates the acid/base balance of the blood
pCO2 – indicates how much carbon dioxide is in the blood
pO2 – indicates how much oxygen is in the blood
HCO3 – indicates how much buffer is in the blood

Breathing (or respiration) is a process by which the body exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs and the blood vessels surrounding the lungs. The infant must take oxygen into the lungs which then moves into the blood vessels. Carbon dioxide must move from the blood vessels into the lungs where it is exhaled or removed from the lungs. A blood gas helps the health care team evaluate the infant's respiratory process. It can help determine whether an infant needs more or less oxygen, or whether the infant needs assistance with their breathing. For infants already receiving assistance with their breathing (on a ventilator), a blood gas helps the health care team adjust the support to provide more or less, as needed. Any infant with a respiratory illness (RDS, BPD, TTN, pneumonia) or cardiac illness (CHD, HLHS, PDA) will likely have blood gasses monitored. The frequency with which blood gasses are performed depends on the type of illness and the stability of the infant's condition.


Risks of obtaining blood gasses are small and include:

Bruising at the sample site if drawn from the heel or an artery or vein
Introducing infection anytime the skin is punctured; minimized by careful cleaning of the site prior to obtaining sample

Sharel O'Connell
Local coordinator for Pittsburgh area
'Parents of Preemies' co-moderator
Survivor of Preeclampsia, HELLP Syndome, & preemie parenting
Future adoptive mom

Aaron (28 weeker, 5/2/02)
Kevin - DH

Re : what are "blood gases"

Post by meg » Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:15 am

yes! that makes sence! Thanks!![:)]

Will 2-6-00 ( PE at 35 weeks)
Elizabeth 7-3-01 ( NO PE)
#3 EDD 10-25-04
Proud Aunt to Ethan born 27.5 weeks weighing 1lb 8 ounces! Our little fighter!

Re : what are "blood gases"

Post by julie f » Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:12 am

I just searched WebMD and here is a link that looked like it explained it well, although I'm not 100% sure that this is the same "blood gas" issue that the NICU doctors are talking about. It would make sense though.

Hope this helps a little.

Julie (27)
Zachary James, 7/22/03-7/27/03, born at 26wks - severe pe

Southern California Coordinator

what are "blood gases"

Post by meg » Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:04 am

The NICU docs keep talking about his blood gases being low. what in the world are blood gases?!?

Will 2-6-00 ( PE at 35 weeks)
Elizabeth 7-3-01 ( NO PE)
#3 EDD 10-25-04
Proud Aunt to Ethan born 27.5 weeks weighing 1lb 8 ounces! Our little fighter!