Acid–base disturbances are commonly encountered in clinical practice. Identification of the specific acid–base imbalance is im-portant in identifying the underlying cause of the disorder and in determining appropriate treatment (Kraut & Madias, 2001).
Plasma pH is an indicator of hydrogen ion (H+) concentra-tion. Homeostatic mechanisms keep pH within a normal range (7.35–7.45). These mechanisms consist of buffer systems, the kidneys, and the lungs. The H+ concentration is extremely im-portant: the greater the concentration, the more acidic the solu-tion and the lower the pH. The lower the H+ concentration, the more alkaline the solution and the higher the pH. The pH range compatible with life (6.8–7.8) represents a tenfold difference in H+ concentration in plasma.
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