Metabolic Acidosis/Alkalosis question


My instructor gave us the following question:

Your patient has experienced prolonged nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. What acid base imbalance would you expect to see as a result?

I'm thinking "it depends". Our text says prolonged vomiting leads to metabolic alkalosis, but prolonged diarrhea leads to metabolic acidosis. I realize it can't be both, but can we predict in advance whether one kind of imbalance is more likely?


Daytonite, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

look up and find the pathophysiologies of vomiting and diarrhea. that is how you are going to find the answer to this. this is straight up science. it would help to have a fluid and electrolyte reference book. i have fluid & electrolyte balance: nursing considerations by norma m. metheny which explains a lot of this stuff. vomiting and diarrhea most severely and rapidly affects children because of their size.

see this thread from 2006. it explains the pathophysiologies of the different types of diarrheas and their loss of alkaline fluid which leads to metabolic acidosis. i can't remember ever doing a post on the pathophysiology of vomiting.

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