Asthma UK community forum

arterial blood gases/symptoms

Iam currently on day 10 of my latest admission which was triggered by infection. WHile im feeling better im still reliant on oxygen,

today the SHO did an arterial blood gas and came back rather paniky as the results were that cmparitive of someone having a reasonably severe attack. I was happily sitting on the bed with a pf of100 and able to talk in nearly full sentances and on 4l of oxygen. he bleeped the itu on call reg who came up and basically laughed at the poor dr.

Basically what i dont understand is why the bloods showed that ,when i was reasonably ok (he repeated them and they were the same)

any ideas /suggestions, as i really want to home and they seem to be saying now that until they are 'normal' im! staying put

6 Replies

Hey Hops

Sorry to hear your poorly.

Have they tried incresing your o2 and then doing another gas. During my last addmission I was requiring huge amounts of o2 (25l on a machine called a vapotherm, plus 10l via mask when sats dropped) with little improvement they eventually decided to do a CT to check for a PE which thankfully came back negative. Like you I was not in great distress but was still quite poorly at the the time. I did however have lots of mucus plugs which were causing sats to drop as well as asthma being a problem. Have they suggested a CT maybe to check for PEs? Physio for some chest clearence if thats a problem also?

Hope things start to improve soon



thanks for your reply claire, im pretty sure there is no clot issues as have had them before and kno how they feel plus have been on blood thinners for yrs now. am clearing chest quite well but there could still be a few lurking.


hey hops,

I have had what I thought to be blood gases done and had worrying results but have felt fine and we decdided it was a venous gas as the co2 and o2 levels were quite similar. the dr repeat the gas a few times and got the same reults each time. they also got the same results when increasing oxygen and it still showed i was hypoxic but i didnt feel it at all.

could they try taking a gas from another site. i know the dr really struggled with me to get the gas as my left wrist is the only really place that they can get a gas from with ease.

this may not be relevent but jsut my thoughts.

hope you escape soon. sending you a big jcb!!!!

olive x


Cheers Olive-im glad im not the only one whose body does 1 thing and u feel different to the results!!!! these were most definately arterial gases(oh the pain!!!) he did use both wrists in the end but my better one is my right one.

its all going to be done againtomoz so we will see what it says. i was really hoping for home on sat as its my eldests birthday on sunday but have a feeling its not going to b unless i self discharge which i dont really want to do.


Hi Hopalong - hope you're feeling better - yeah, I understand this one. I've had it both ways - saying things aren't great when I feel ok and saying things aren't too bad when I feel dreadful...

Just this last time, the A&E doc firstly just went by the measurement on the probe on the finger and said, hmm, I don't believe that (in that he thought it was saying my O2 was lower than it really was), you seem ok (and I didn't feel too bad), he did an ABG and once they got the results were running around and making lots of fuss, IVs up, magnesium in, blah de blah and being watched really closely.

One possible explanation I have once you're on a ward (and this has no medical basis, just my thoughts) is that you're completely resting and having everything done for you so your body doesn't notice that it's lacking O2 as it doesn't 'need' to perform anything strenuous if that makes sense?


Hey hopalongkp :)

Don't really have any answers to your question itself, but like you sometimes I don't feel too bad with a peakflow of 100 and a bad ABG, I am usually surprised when they refer to my ABGs not being good. I know that some people with severe asthma can have lower than usual oxygen levels/sats and adapt to it so may not realise that they are struggling. From my own perspective, I don't usually begin to 'feel' hypoxic until my sats are in the mid 80s actually having sats in the low 80s or 70s is when I can say I am feeling rough from the hypoxia. I am not saying that it is right for anyone to have low sats or a PO2 on the ABG at all just that some people particularly those who are chronically very severe for example may not notice the effects of low PO2/sats.

simi x


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