The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

INCIDENCE OF SPECIFIC ACID-BASE DISORDERS SEEN IN THE MEDICAL AND SURGICAL INTENSIVE CARE UNITS AT A UNIVERSITY-BASED MEDICAL CENTER

Ruben D. Restrepo1, Robert L. Wilkins1, James R. Dexter2



Background: Arterial blood gases are routinely ordered in patients admitted to the intensive care units. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify the frequency of acid-base disorders in the medical and surgical intensive care units at a university-based health care center.

Methods: Arterial blood gas (ABG) samples (n = 180) were randomly selected from the medical and surgical intensive care units (MICU/SICU) at a 630 bed hospital over a four month period. Each sample was interpreted and descriptive statistics were generated.

Results: Normal acid-base results were found in 55 (31%) of the 180 samples collected. The most common acid-base disorder seen in patients from both ICUs was simple respiratory alkalemia, occurring in 49 (39.2%) of the 125 abnormal ABG results. Mixed acid-base disorders were found in 28 (22%) of the 125 abnormal ABG reports. The most common mixed disorder found was metabolic acidemia and respiratory alkalemia. There was no difference between the MICU and SICU when comparing the frequency of normal, simple, or mixed acid-base disorders.

Conclusion: The relative high frequency of normal ABG results may indicate a need for reevaluating routine orders for blood gases in the intensive care unit. Clinicians need to remain competent in the interpretation of both simple and mixed acid-base disorders.