when i recently took the stable course for newborn care, we were given laminated sheets that contained all of the basics for abg interpretation. i had always felt a little fuzzy trying to make sense of abgs, but this tool has done wonders to demystify the whole process.
here is a link to the page where the laminated abg sheet can be ordered:
the left side is the metabolic range. the right side is the respiratory range. the middle is the ph value. by taking a ruler and lining up the numbers, you can tell immediately what you have.
step one, you look at ph. if it's in normal range, whatever is going on has been corrected. anything outside that range is uncompensated.
step two, line up the ruler on the correct metabolic and respiratory values (with the middle on the ph number). now this might sound incredibly basic but it had never clicked with me before that if one side is up, the other side will
be down. like a teeter-totter. maybe it was just because i had never visualized the process. but once i saw
it, i understood it in a way i hadn't been able to before.
on the flip side of this sheet is all kinds of additional info.
this tool has helped me far more than all the verbal formulas ever have. seeing it helps me have a context for the written information and trying to figure it out doesn't hurt the way it used to.
the sheet is $6 (don't know about shipping) and, to me, well worth the price.