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Chapter: Medical Surgical Nursing: Fluid and Electrolytes: Balance and Distribution

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Acid–Base Disturbances

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.

Acid–Base Disturbances

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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