When are blood gases usually done?

I've had them done with 96% oxygen levels with bad shortness of breath, yet I've barely been able to speak with 90% sats and not had them done, had sats into low 80s and got out of blood gases, I've also had them done for 90-92% sats with NO breathing difficulties.

is there a generalised thing of when they're done or does it all depend on your doctor in A&E/wards?

5 Replies

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  • According to bts guidelines, gases are done when sats <92% and or signs of a life threatening attack. This has just been audited at my hospital (well management of acute asthma has) and its very variable!

    B x

  • I don't find gases to be too painful, I've got tattoos which hurt more. :P how tight my back and chest was last night was a lot more painful than ABG's which have had a lot of digging involved with. I was tachy at 125+ until a few hours after oxygen and nebs, hit 150bpm at one point about an hour after I'd finished on nebs, I was sat in a side room on half hourly obs. the hospital wouldn't discharge me until my heart rate was below 80.

    my sats last night were 90-93% last night, with bad shortness of breath, resp rate was 27. it took 15 minutes to get 3 peak flow readings due to the shortness of breath, stupid lungs. I'd managed to cough myself down to 85-88% a few times.

    just seems a bit weird that I've had gases done with higher oxygen levels and less symptoms.

  • Blood gas results are instant from a machine so only takes as long as it takes to walk to/from the machine. And there's usually one in ED so shouldn't be a factor. That's why they're done to get a quick snapshot of how you're doing.

    B x

  • I've had ABGs done every time I've been in A&E, and a couple of times when I was captive in HDU. Perhaps it's also done if you've been struggling for a while and they just want to check that your CO2 isn't going through the roof? Just a thought...

  • ah, makes sense. thanks :)

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