Arterial Blood Gas test

It is well known that diabetes manifests into several complications for people who have heart failure, kidneyfailure,uncontrolled diabetes, sleep disorders, severe infections, or after a drug overdose.

Ordinarily, to control blood sugar levels, doctors suggest tests such as lipid profile, fasting pp blood sugar and HbAIC tests .and prescribe medication, diet and exercise.

Ina few cases where complication has already setin, it may not be possible control to optimum level of blood sugar level and it may go haywire and cause deterioration in health. In such cases expert docrors advise special diagnostic tests to find out why.

One such test is ABG test (Arterial bloodgas test

An arterial blood gas (ABG) test measures the acidity (pH) and the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood from an artery. This test is used to check how well your lungs are able to move oxygen into the blood and remove carbon dioxide from the blood.

As blood passes through your lungs, oxygen moves into the blood while carbon dioxide moves out of the blood into the lungs. An ABG test uses blood drawn from an artery, where the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels can be measured before they enter body tissues. An ABG measures:

•Partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2). This measures the pressure of oxygen dissolved in the blood and how well oxygen is able to move from the airspace of the lungs into the blood.

•Partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PaCO2). This measures the pressure of carbon dioxide dissolved in the blood and how well carbon dioxide is able to move out of the body.

•pH. The pH measures hydrogen ions (H+) in blood. The pH of blood is usually between 7.35 and 7.45. A pH of less than 7.0 is called acid and a pH greater than 7.0 is called basic (alkaline). So blood is slightly basic.

•Bicarbonate (HCO3). Bicarbonate is a chemical (buffer) that keeps the pH of blood from becoming too acidic or too basic.

•Oxygen content (O2CT) and oxygen saturation (O2Sat) values. O2 content measures the amount of oxygen in the blood. Oxygen saturation measures how much of the hemoglobin in the red blood cells is carrying oxygen (O2).

Blood for an ABG test is taken from an artery. Most other blood tests are done on a sample of blood taken from a vein, after the blood has already passed through the body's tissues where the oxygen is used up and carbon dioxide is produced.

An arterial blood gas (ABG) test is done to:

•Check for severe breathing problems and lung diseases, such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

•See how well treatment for lung diseases is working.

•Find out if you need extra oxygen or help with breathing (mechanical ventilation).

•Find out if you are receiving the right amount of oxygen when you are using oxygen in the hospital.

•Measure the acid-base level in the blood of people who have heart failure, kidney failure, uncontrolled diabetes, sleep disorders, severe infections, or after a drug overdose.


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44 Replies

  • Good review of arterial blood gas analysis.

  • An arterial blood gas (ABG) test is a blood gas test of blood from an artery; it is thus a blood test that measures the amounts of certain gases (such as oxygen and carbon dioxide) dissolved in arterial blood.

    The test is used to evaluate respiratory diseases and conditions that affect the lungs. It helps determine the effectiveness of oxygen therapy. The test also provides information about the body's acid/base balance, which can reveal important clues about lung and kidney function and the body's general metabolic state.


  • 1- How this will be useful for a Diabetic patient??

    2- Many times it is said a diabetic must eat food which will make his blood more alkaline.Is it true??


    The kidney and the liver are two main organs responsible for the metabolic homeostasis of pH. Bicarbonate is a base that helps to accept excess hydrogen ions whenever there is acidaemia. However, this mechanism is slower than the respiratory pathway and may take from a few hours to 3 days to take effect. In acidaemia, the bicarbonate levels rise, so that they can neutralize the excess acid, while the contrary happens when there is alkalaemia. Thus when an arterial blood gas test reveals, for example, an elevated bicarbonate, the problem has been present for a couple of days, and metabolic compensation took place over a blood acedemia problem.

    In general, it is much easier to correct acute pH derangement by adjusting respiration. Metabolic compensations take place at a much later stage. However, in a critical setting, a patient with a normal pH, a high CO2, and a high bicarbonate means that, although there is a high carbon dioxide level, there is metabolic compensation. As a result, one must be careful as to not artificially adjust breaths to lower the carbon dioxide. In such case, lowering the carbon dioxide abruptly means that the bicarbonate will be in excess and will cause a metabolic alkalosis. In such a case, carbon dioxide levels should be slowly diminished.

    So again are we pointing out liver as culprit for diabetes??

    Certain 'Pranayan kriyas' such as 'Anulpm Vilom' 'Bhastrika' got some effect on Arteria lblood gas?

  • will bhastrika and other pranyams will have any effect on ABG??

  • Gurudev.... kya kya padh lete ho???? pure medical industry ki jankari rakhte ho....

  • Hyperventilation also can cause Epileptic seizures if not careful. Also, can cause dizziness in some people, anup.


    Ronald Harper, a neurobiology professor at UCLA, conducted observations on a group of healthy teenagers breathing various gas mixes using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). His findings showed that in some subjects the pure O2 caused the brain to go clinically bonkers. Brain structures such as the hippocampus, the insula, and the cingulate cortex all displayed an adverse reaction; they in turn spurred the hypothalamus, the body’s main regulatory gland, into a fervor. The hypothalamus regulates a myriad of things, including heart rate, body temperature, and is the master of a variety of other glands. The introduction of pure oxygen prompts the hypothalamus to flood the body with a cocktail of hormones and neurotransmitters which serve to hamper heart rate, and further reduce the circulatory system’s effectiveness. But Harper also found that by adding a mere 5% CO2, all the detrimental effects found in pure oxygen are negated.

  • But how this all will be helpful for diabetes???

  • let rvmasalvad throw some light on the isue that how this will be helpful for us...

  • Ina few cases where complication has already set in, it may not be possible to control to optimum level of blood sugar level and it may go haywire and cause deterioration in health. In such cases expert docrors advise special diagnostic tests to find out why.

  • How this analysis will help them to chalk out further line of treatment?

  • @Anup

    By giving proper substances / drugs. In acidosis there is depletion of carbonate. Body can't produce enough so needed to be given in drip. Giving oxygen will help wash out co2. Almost as much oxygen is imbibed as co2 is thrown out.


    Blowing air in the earthen pot (Ghagar Phunkane) while standing, dancing in front of ‘Maha Laxmi’ is considered part of worshiping. Some women do that all night and go in trance. Resonating sound of blowing air in earthen pots makes whole atmosphere mysterious and sometimes scary for children. Smoke of burning ‘Uda’ makes the atmosphere even more enchanting. Many believe that the goddess appears in their form. People with problems ask them questions to get solutions. Their answer is considered as answer from Goddess. With their forehead covered with red kumkum and adrenaline going high in their bodies, those women truly look like full of some kind of super power.

    Going in to trance is due inhaling of co2 .

  • is it the reason that fast moving animals like Cheetah,Dogs have short life span and slow moving animals like elephant ,tortoise live longer???

  • cure

    No. Must be genetic. Fast moving animals need more oxygen so their lungs are well developed. Akin to exercise.

  • cure

    Yes. Yoga pranayam deep breathing exercises reciting om all can help. Routinely we use 60-70% of our lung capacity. By yoga etc we can increase that upto 90% or more imbibing more oxygen. Oxygen rejuvenates our body tissues . Oxygen keeps you young.

  • cure

    Bade bhaiya pranam.

    D people tend to be acidic if D is uncontrolled. Esp type 1.

    There is a little correction. In acidosis H+ Is in abundance. We need bicarbonates to neutralise that or our cells would die. So in acidosis hydrogen is in excess and bicarbonate gets depleted.

    There are two types of acidosis / alkalosis. Metabolic and respiratory. Both interrelated.

    It's a long subject but in metabolic acidosis there is hyperventilation washing out acid through co2 exhalation.

    HCl = acid

    (Na)HCo3 / bicarbonate = alkali

    H +cl + Na + hco3 = nacl + h2co3. So h2o plus co2. In acidosis there is deficit of alkali because H+ acid is in excess. Kidney have major role by excreting acidic urine.

    In alkalosis reverse happen and co2 is retained by suppression of respiration and passing of alkaline urine.

    Whenever there is respiratory acidosis as in copd and asthma the kidney dispose off co2 by excreting acidic urine. Reverse of above equation.

    Sorry if i have failed to explain you in a way you can understand. It's simple chemical equations occurring inside the body.

  • Body has inbuilt intricate mechanism to maintain it's ph. If that ph shifts to acid or alkaline side one becomes critically sick. I don't think pranayama has any role to play in this acid base balance.

  • ahhh i am curious about effect of pranayam of ABG patliputra

  • Cure,

    No significant change in arterial blood gases after pranayama . > pubmed

  • if it is so....then is the claim that Pranayama and other yogic breathing techniques got effect on blood pressure control etc is false??

  • Blood pressure and blood gas are poles apart subjects.

  • Is co2 considered as blood gas???

    is co2 vasodilator??


  • Answer to both is yes. But normally it doesn't affect blood pressure. Cure.

  • why so?

  • As it is normally present in blood in proper ratio with other gases.

  • right then...but are we testing ABG for disturbance of same.?

    So does that implies proper ratio is disturbed...

  • Sure, depending on pathology .

  • So does it affects blood pressure???

  • Normally, no. But for example ,in carbondi oxide poisoning it will have effect on blood pressure. But those are emergency and life threatening conditions.

  • hmmm

    High blood pressure is generally caused by your blood vessels tightening up and narrowing. Resperate’s breathing exercise relaxes constricted blood vessels to reduce high blood pressure because slower breathing increases CO2 and bicarbonate levels in the blood thus dilating the vascular system.

  • Basically you are right about blood pressure,but patho physiology is, without going into details I simply say that breathing excercises are stress busters. Once stress is gone so are the blood pressure causing stress hormones, so blood pressure gets lowered.

  • so does this means pranayama got some effect on this?? In 'Kumbhak' we are expected to hold the breath..also in purak and rechak we needto slow down breathing...

    So there issome corelation between co2 and blood pressure??

  • Whatever breathing excercise you do no effect on blood gases.

    No significant effect on blood pressure either.

  • High blood pressure is generally caused by your blood vessels tightening up and narrowing. Resperate’s breathing exercise relaxes constricted blood vessels to reduce high blood pressure because slower breathing increases CO2 and bicarbonate levels in the blood thus dilating the vascular system.

    this one says slower breathing got effect blood pressure...

    plus there is corelation between co2 and blood pressure... certainly they are not 'Pole Apart'

  • I have alreadysaid what I have to say. Take it or leave it. It is upto you.

  • That is right...just wanted to confirm...


    Co2 is proven vasodilator...

    And certainly breathing techniques got effect on blood pressure...

  • cure

    It's not very simple. There are many factors. Many relaxing hormones get released during yoga etc which have direct effect on blood vessels.

    Many chemicals play a role. You are trying to fathom a deep sea. Nobody is able to know the sea completely. Likewise body is still a mystery.

  • hmmm

    what does it mean?

  • request to go thru total discussion plz

  • cure

    Usually serum electrolytes are measured. For abg some pulmonologist should opine.

    Usually there is pulse oxy meter which measures oxygen saturation and pulse. It is clip like device to be applied on finger. We use during operations and in post operative periods.

    I think abg is measures more in respiratory conditions.


    To be on the safe side when yoga techniques are offered to the general public, the instructions should emphasize that rapid breathing should be stopped and performed less vigorously if dizziness or other signs of significant hyperventilation occur. Also, breath holding should be introduced gradually, without strain, and using proper techniques. Advanced practices with significant breath retention should be explored cautiously. These precautions are described in most yoga manuals and courses. It should also be noted that most yoga masters believe that abuse of advanced breathing practices pose significant health threats beyond the cardiac effects discussed here. These other potential threats have not yet been scientifically investigated; however, several anecdotal reports of psychological and physiological disturbances apparently related to unsupervised, excessive yoga practice have been described (Krishna, 1971; Sannella, 1987).

  • cure

    Usually basal parts of our lungs / alveoli are not opened. Taking deep breath and holding helps to open up them so that more oxygen can get into the blood

  • In patients with DKA arterial blood gases show typical manifestation of metabolic acidosis . Low bicarbonates and low PH.

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