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Help Figuring Out ABGs!!!

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by Luvelyone Luvelyone (Member)

Luvelyone specializes in Cardiac Stepdown and CVSICU.

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since i am not working as a lpn this summer :angryfire , i decided to spend a few hours per week studying for my fall classes as i have heard my med/surg iv instructor fails the most people out of the program and gives a test on the first night of class.

i struggle figuring out abgs. i have to make a chart with ph, co2, hco3 (i think) and then try to figure out if it's respiratory or metabolic and then if it's alkalosis or acidosis. in the end, i always end up confused.

anyone know an easier way to figure this out and remember it?

thanks. :kiss

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AnnaN5 has 7 years experience and specializes in AGNP.

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We haven't covered this yet in our nursing classes but in some of the study guides I have they have some help on how to memorize ABGs.

Remember "ROME"-Respiratory Opposite, Metabolic Equal

Increased pH, Decreased C02=Respiratory Alkalosis

Decreased pH, Increased C02=Respiratory Acidosis

Increased pH, Increased HC03=Metabolic Alkalosis

Decreased pH, Decreased HC03=Metabolic Acidosis

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Luvelyone specializes in Cardiac Stepdown and CVSICU.

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that's are really easy way to remember it. thanks.

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EricJRN has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

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Good call, Anna! The ROME method is definitely the way to go.

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Daytonite has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

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i thought allnurses had a sticky on the student forums with links for abg websites. i can't find one. check out this sticky on this forum: https://allnurses.com/forums/f205/pathophysiology-p-fluid-electrolyte-resources-145201.html if i remember, there's information about acidosis and alkalosis on there.

here's some of the better abg and acid-base sites i have:


https://allnurses.com/forums/f50/abgs-compensation-156641.html - abgs and compensation thread

http://maagnursing.com/abg/ - this is an abg and acid/base balance tutorial. you do not have to register to go through the tutorial.

http://realnurseed.com/abg.htm - "abg's: it's all in the family"

http://www2.norwich.edu/mwalker/nr312/abg.htm - "interpretation of abgs: the battle of bicarb vs. carbon dioxide

http://www.the-abg-site.com/ - "the abg site". six easy steps to accurately interpret arterial blood gasses from ed4nurses.

http://web.indstate.edu/mary/abgdemo.html - an abg and abg analysis tutorial by a nursing instructor at indiana state university. http://www-isu.indstate.edu/mary/abgpract.htm - this is a quiz to test what you learned (includes answers).

http://www.rnceus.com/course_frame.asp?exam_id=18&directory=abgs - "interpretation of abgs: a four step method". from rnceus.com. discusses the authors four step method for interpreting abg values along with patient case studies and examples.

http://www.madsci.com/manu/indexgas.htm - blood gas basics from mad scientist software

http://instructors.butlercc.edu/nr202/lakous/abgs/abgs.html - abg tutorial from butler community college nursing program. includes questions and case scenarios. not sure if all answers to questions are on the site.

http://www.nurse-center.com/studentnurse/abgs.html - this is an abg review. it has 20 sets of abgs for you to interpret. the answers are at the bottom of the page.

http://www.acid-base.com/ - the home page of an interactive acid-base tutorial for medical students by professor alan grogono at tulane university, but there are things in it that are useful for nursing students. click on buttons throughout the presentation for more specific information. you might want to click on the "alphabetical index" at the left side to get a listing of the subjects covered on this site to save time. also, check out the "links" for more acid-base tutorial sites.

http://www.qldanaesthesia.com/acidbasebook/abindex.htm - the online edition of "acid-base physiology" by kerry brandis. there is a lot of information on acid-base balance here and includes information on respiratory and metabolic acidosis and alkalosis. there are short tutorials on the compensation, correction, assessment and prevention of each of these conditions.

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I split the values up.

First, I look at the PH. Is it high or low? Alkalosis versus Acidoses.

Then, I look at the other values to find the cause of the acidosis or alkalosis.

C02: High or low

Bicarb: High or low

P02: High or low

Finally, I look at the base deficit/base excess value to help confirm my assessment.

-3 and lower (ie -4,-5, -6, etc): metabolic acidosis in nature

+3 and higher (ie 4,5,6, etc) metabolic alkalosis in nature

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