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ABG Interpretation: Who is the Baby's Daddy?

Based on a concept I learned years ago from Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio, PhD, RN


1. The Baby’s First Name

A. Look at the pH

B. If it is 7.35-7.45 (normal) then her first name is COMPENSATED or NORMAL

C. If the pH is <7.35 or >7.45, her first name is UNCOMPENSATED


2. The Baby’s Last Name

A. Look at the pH

B. If her pH is < 7.35, her last name is ACIDOSIS. If her pH is > 7.45, her last name is ALKALOSIS.

C. 7.40 is the perfect pH, so normal blood gases will have a pH close to 7.40

D. If compensated, pH 7.35-7.37 is on the ACID side of 7.40

E. If compensated, pH 7.43-7.45 is on the ALKALOSIS side of 7.40


3. The Baby’s Middle Name (The Baby’s Daddy)

A. The middle name will either be Respiratory, Metabolic or both (mixed)

B. Look at the CO2 (normal 35-45) (Inversely proportional to pH)

a. If the pH is < 7.40 (ACIDOSIS) and the CO2 is >45, her middle name is RESPIRATORY

b. If the pH is > 7.40 (ALKALOSIS) and the CO2 is < 35, her middle name is RESPIRATORY

C. Look at the HCO3 (normal 22-26) (Directly proportional to pH)

a. If the pH is < 7.40 and the HCO3 is < 26, her middle name is METABOLIC

b. If the pH is > 7.40 and the HCO3 is > 22, her middle name is METABOLIC

D. There can be two “Baby Daddy’s” (EX: mixed acidosis)





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