The appropriate diagnosis and management of acid-base disorders in acutely ill or critically ill patients require accurate and timely interpretation of the specific acid-base disorder. Appropriate interpretation requires simultaneous measurement of plasma electrolytes and arterial blood gases, as well as an appreciation by the clinician of the physiologic adaptations and compensatory responses that occur with specific acid-base disturbances.
This tutorial was designed specifically for internal medicine residents and may also be used by medical students. It includes a discussion on the normal physiology of acid base regulation, acid base disorders and their effect on electrolytes; renal function and other processes in the body. This tutorial offers a step to step approach in analyzing the results of an arterial blood gas. Also included are practice cases that emphasize some of the more important concepts in understanding acid base disturbances.
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