Blood Gas Analysis

Table of Contents

Blood gas analysis or Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) is a medical procedure done to measure the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood to see how well the lungs are working. This procedure also measures the acid-base balance in the blood. Your kidneys and lungs function to maintain the acid-base balance.

In general, you need to maintain an acid-base balance to keep your enzyme systems working properly. When there is an imbalance, such as too much acid (acidosis) or too much base (alkalosis) — if left untreated, it may be dangerous and even life-threatening.

Purposes of Blood Gas Analysis

The blood gas analysis test provides a precise measurement of the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your body. This procedure can help your doctor determine how well your lungs and kidneys are working. Your doctor will perform a blood gas analysis procedure if you have symptoms of oxygen, carbon dioxide, or a pH imbalance. 

Symptoms may include:

  • Nausea.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Confusion 

These symptoms may be signs of certain medical conditions, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Who Needs a Blood Gas Analysis? 

You may require a blood gas analysis if you have complaints associated with lung diseases such as pneumonia or emphysema.

However, low oxygen levels may also be a sign of a disease or other condition that has nothing to do with the condition of the lungs. Your doctor needs to identify what causes the breathing problems in order to suggest the appropriate treatment.

If you are using supplemental oxygen to help you breathe, this test shows whether you are getting enough extra oxygen.

If you are using breathing machines or having kidney disease, kidney failure, diabetes, chronic vomiting, or other conditions — may have problems with the acid-base balance in your blood. 

Your doctor may also suggest a blood gas analysis if you have one of the following conditions:

  • Kidney disease
  • Lung disease.
  • Metabolism disease.
  • Head or neck injury that affects breathing.

This procedure also helps your doctor identify pH and blood gas levels imbalances to prepare you for treatment for certain conditions, such as lung and kidney disease.

Blood gas analysis is also usually performed in conjunction with other tests, such as a blood glucose test to check blood sugar levels and a blood creatinine test to evaluate kidney function.

Cost Estimation for Blood Gas Analysis

The cost for a blood gas analysis procedure depends on the hospital or clinic that provides the procedure. Each hospital and clinic usually offers a variety of service packages based on your diagnostic needs as well as your financial ability. .

For more details regarding the cost estimation for blood gas analysis, contact Smarter Health.

Pre-Blood Gas Analysis

In general, no special preparations are required before performing a blood gas analysis procedure. However, you will still need to deal with the administrative arrangement. 

  • Inform your doctor if you have sensitivity or allergies to certain medicines
  • Inform your doctor if you are taking medications — either general or prescriptions / medical or herbal.
  • Your doctors need to know your medical history, such as if you have a history of lung or kidney diseases 
  • You need to make an appointment with your doctor for a blood gas analysis procedure. You may consult your doctor about this procedure.
  • If you are currently on oxygen therapy, yet able to breathe without breathing assistive devices, your doctor may turn off your oxygen for 20 minutes for a “room air” test before the blood gas test.

During Blood Gas Analysis 

A blood gas analysis requires taking a small sample of blood. The blood draw may be taken from an artery in your wrist, arm, groin, or preexisting blood arterial line if you are currently hospitalized. A blood gas sample can also be venous.

Your doctor or nurse will sterilize the injection site using an antiseptic. Once an artery is found, he or she will insert a needle into the artery and perform the blood draw. You may feel a small sting or pinch when the needle is inserted in your arm or hand.

Arteries have more smooth muscle layers than veins, and some may find an arterial blood gas test more painful than a blood draw from a vein.

After the needle is removed, your doctor or nurse will hold pressure for a few minutes before putting a bandage over the puncture site.

The blood sample will then be analyzed by machine or in a laboratory. The sample must be analyzed immediately within 10 minutes after the procedure to ensure an accurate test result.

Post-Blood Gas Analysis

You can wait for your result If you are currently hospitalized, you may return to your room while waiting for your results. Your doctor will usually discuss your test right after. 

Understanding Your Blood Gas Analysis Results 

The test results may vary depending on your age, gender, medical history, the method used, and many other things. The test results may also indicate your health condition. You may ask your doctor about what test results mean. 

Your blood gas test results will show: 

  • Oxygen partial pressure, or PaO2. This measurement shows the oxygen pressure in your blood. In general, healthy adults have a PaO greater than 80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
  • Acid-base balance (pH). When carbon dioxide builds up in your blood, it dissolves and produces acid. If the blood acid levels are out of balance, it may indicate that your body is unable to clean carbon dioxide efficiently. This may be because your lungs are not functioning properly or the kidneys are unable to remove the acid. Normal results are between 7.35 and 7.45.

Side Effects of Blood Gas Analysis

The main benefits of blood gas analysis is to provide your doctor with accurate data on your blood content. This test is a quick, simple and relatively affordable 

Any test that involves a needle insertion carries several risks, including bleeding, infection, and bruising. You may feel a small sting or pinch when the needle is inserted in your arm or hand. 

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