Understanding Arterial Blood Gas Test

An Arterial Blood Gas Test is a more comprehensive blood test (also known as an ABG test) that measures the acidity and level of oxygen and carbon dioxide specifically in the blood from an artery. During this test, the following will be checked and measured.

  • The pressure of oxygen dissolved in the human blood and how smooth the oxygen can move from the airspace of the lungs into the blood.
  • The pressure of carbon dioxide dissolved in the blood and how well carbon dioxide can move out of the human body.
  • The acidity (pH) or amount of hydrogen ions (H+) in the blood.
  • The amount of bicarbonate in the blood.
  • The amount of oxygen in the blood.
  • The amount of hemoglobin in the red blood cells carrying oxygen.

What Is An Arterial Blood Gas Test For?

Such test is usually done to check for patients with severe breathing problems and lung diseases i.e. asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), check if patients are getting the right amount of oxygen or if extra oxygen is needed in the hospital, check if treatment for lung diseases is effective, as well as measure the acid-base level in the blood of patients with heart or kidney failure, uncontrolled diabetes, severe infections or sleeping disorders.

Before going for an arterial blood gas test, make sure that you talk to your health care provider about any concern you have i.e. the risks involved, how will it be done, and what does the result mean.

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