What Is a Blood Gas Test?

blood gas testA person is brought to the emergency room with difficulty breathing. Hospital personnel have only moments to determine the cause.

Difficulty breathing can be caused by a wide variety
of conditions, including heart disease, kidney failure, uncontrolled diabetes, or even chemical poisoning.

In an emergency situation, a doctor will order a number of tests, including a blood gas test (also known as an arterial blood gas test (ABG) or a blood gas analysis), to discover the underlying cause of the difficulty.

A blood gas test is not diagnostic by itself; is usually accompanied by other tests, including a urine test to check the function of the kidneys, chest x-rays and lung volume tests to test lung function, and blood counts for sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, and blood sugar.

The blood gas test checks the pH level of the blood, and measures the blood levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide. The two most important results of the blood gas test are the pH level and the Partial Pressure of Oxygen (PaO2) measurement.

If a person’s pH is out of the normal range, it could signal that their lungs or kidneys are not functioning properly. A low PaO2 measurement suggests that the person is not getting enough oxygen. The cause for this might be emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, or another problem with heart.

The results of the blood gas test can vary depending on whether the person is above or below sea level.

At Tower Lodge Care Center, in Wall, NJ, we take a restorative approach to care, maximizing each resident’s ability to maintain function and enjoy life. Tower Lodge Care Center offers long-term care, rehabilitative care, short-term rehab, respite care for those times when family members just need a break, and hospice care. Our nursing staff is warm and caring, and we consider each of our residents to be part of our family, a person to be treated with compassion, dedication, and respect.

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