Low CO2 what to do?

  1. 0
    Just wondering...
    If lab called and said your patient had a CO2 of 14 what would you do?
    Thanks!
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  5. 4
    it would depend on the patient.

    low co2 on a chemistry panel is a sign of metabolic acidosis (i'm assuming this is the chem panel and not the abg). it tends to correlate with the bicarb level on the abg.

    some chronic renal patients tend to have low co2 levels, and it is "normal" for them.

    otherwise, i'd be looking for other causes of metabolic acidosis -- sepsis and dka come to mind.

    how are they breathing? are they working hard? are they acting like they are trying to blow off co2 in order to normalize their ph? are they alert?

    what was the co2 yesterday? if it was 10 yesterday, then the patient is getting better. if it was 22 yesterday, then i'd be concerned.

    i'd also be interested in what the abg might show. if there was reason to call the doc, i'd probably ask if i could get an abg.

    a co2 of 14 makes me want to watch the patient closer, and look for causes.
  6. 0
    Quote from critterlover
    it would depend on the patient.

    low co2 on a chemistry panel is a sign of metabolic acidosis (i'm assuming this is the chem panel and not the abg). it tends to correlate with the bicarb level on the abg.

    some chronic renal patients tend to have low co2 levels, and it is "normal" for them.

    otherwise, i'd be looking for other causes of metabolic acidosis -- sepsis and dka come to mind.

    how are they breathing? are they working hard? are they acting like they are trying to blow off co2 in order to normalize their ph? are they alert?

    what was the co2 yesterday? if it was 10 yesterday, then the patient is getting better. if it was 22 yesterday, then i'd be concerned.

    i'd also be interested in what the abg might show. if there was reason to call the doc, i'd probably ask if i could get an abg.

    a co2 of 14 makes me want to watch the patient closer, and look for causes.
    no, no, no. co2 is considered an acid therefore low co2 would be considered alkalotic first off. second, when there is a problem with co2 (versus hco3) it is considered a respiratory problem not a metabolic problem.


    this would mean that, that a low co2 level (assuming that the hco3 level is normal)... would be respiratory alkalosis.

    things that could cause this would be anything that causes hyperventilation... pain, asa overdose, anxiety etc... brown bag breathing can help increase co2 level..

    **edited dt spelling mistakes, sorry**
    Last edit by Acosmo27 on Jul 18, '08
  7. 2
    Quote from Acosmo27
    No, No, No. Co2 is considered an acid therefore LOW Co2 would be considered alkalotic first off. Second, when there is a problem with Co2 (versus HCO3) it is considered a respiratory problem NOT a metabolic problem.


    This would mean that, that a low Co2 level (assuming that the HCO3 level is normal)... would be respiratory alkalosis.

    Things that could cause this would be anything that causes hyperventilation... pain, ASA overdose, anxiety etc... Brown bag breathing can help increase CO2 level..

    **edited dt spelling mistakes, sorry**
    You are correct ONLY if the CO2 is from an abg. Critterlover is totally correct in the meaning of a CO2 in a chemistry panel.
    turnforthenurseRN and Acosmo27 like this.
  8. 1
    Quote from acosmo27
    no, no, no. co2 is considered an acid therefore low co2 would be considered alkalotic first off. second, when there is a problem with co2 (versus hco3) it is considered a respiratory problem not a metabolic problem.


    this would mean that, that a low co2 level (assuming that the hco3 level is normal)... would be respiratory alkalosis.

    things that could cause this would be anything that causes hyperventilation... pain, asa overdose, anxiety etc... brown bag breathing can help increase co2 level..

    **edited dt spelling mistakes, sorry**


    as i stated in my post, i'm talking about co2 in the chem panel, not the blood gas.

    co2 in the chem panel correlates with hco3 on the blood gas.

    low co2 in the chem panel is indicative of metabolic acidosis, though you really need to look at a blood gas to be sure.

    the co2 level in the blood gas and chem panel are measured in different units, so don't expect them to correlate.

    Acosmo27 likes this.
  9. 0
    oops! My bad... thanks for clearing that up!
  10. 0
    Is this a homework question ??
  11. 0
    A little off topic; however, I just wanted to emphasize that carbon dioxide is not an acid. Hydrogen ions are acid. PH is a logarithmic scale used to measure hydrogen ions. Now, when carbon dioxide enters the plasma, a significant amount of carbon dioxide is transported in the form of bicarbonate. During this process carbonic acid is produced. The hydrogen ion does not even come from carbon dioxide. The reverse occurs at the level of the alveoli.
  12. 0
    Quote from Praiser
    Is this a homework question ??
    No, the lab called me this morning at the end of my shift to let me know.
  13. 0
    Quote from abundantjoy07
    no, the lab called me this morning at the end of my shift to let me know.

    so (out of curiosity) what was going on with the patient?


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