ARTERIAL BLOOD GAS STUDIES
Measurements of blood pH and of arterial oxygen and carbon dioxide tensions are obtained when managing patients with res-piratory problems and in adjusting oxygen therapy as needed. The arterial oxygen tension (PaO2) indicates the degree of oxy-genation of the blood, and the arterial carbon dioxide tension (PaCO2) indicates the adequacy of alveolar ventilation. Arterial blood gas studies aid in assessing the ability of the lungs to pro-vide adequate oxygen and remove carbon dioxide and the ability of the kidneys to reabsorb or excrete bicarbonate ions to main-tain normal body pH. Serial blood gas analysis also is a sensitive indicator of whether the lung has been damaged after chest trauma. Arterial blood gas levels are obtained through an arterial puncture at the radial, brachial, or femoral artery or through an indwelling arterial catheter.
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