ISSN 2398-2969      

Blood: gas analysis


Synonym(s): Arterial blood gas ABG analysis


  • Complete information about pulmonary gas exchange, acid-base and electrolyte status of the patient is provided by measuring pH, PO2 (partial pressure of oxygen), PCO 2 (partial pressure of carbon dioxide), electrolytes and metabolites on arterial or venous blood.
  • Other parameters, such as HCO3 (bicarbonate), TCO2 (total CO2 ), SaO2 (arterial oxygen saturation), AnGap (anion gap) and BE (base excess) can also be calculated using specific formulas.
  • Useful monitoring tool to evaluate pulmonary function, blood oxygenation, ventilation and acid-base status of a conscious patient which may be suffering from disease, or of a patient which may be undergoing prolonged anesthesia.


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  • Different laboratory systems are available which consist of compact, chemistry analyzers capable of performing hematology, biochemistry and immunoassays, and of measuring electrolytes and blood gas parameters.


  • Readily available.


  • Studies are warranted to provide sufficient evidence that point-of-care analyzers produce reliable measurements comparable to reference laboratories, and in agreement with references provided by bench top analyzers.
  • Instrument-specific reference intervals are needed. It is advisable to use the same instrument when multiple assessments of a single patient are performed.



  • Limited data available.


  • Limited data available.

Technique (intrinsic) limitations

Technician (extrinsic) limitations

  • It is possible to transfer the sample to a lithium heparin tube before loading into the rotor.
  • Air bubbles or excessive pressure during sampling.
  • Erroneous sampling of venous rather than arterial blood.

Result Data

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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Eatwell K et al (2013) Use of arterial blood gas analysis as a superior method for evaluating respiratory function in pet rabbits. Vet Rec 173 (7), 166 PubMed.
  • Eatwell K, Mancinelli E, Headley J, Benato L, Shaw D J, Self I & Meredith A (2013) Comparison of invasive and non-invasive methods of respiratory monitoring in domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Vet Rec [accepted for publication Apr 2013].
  • Ardiaca M, Bonvehi C & Montesinos A (2013) Point-of-care blood gas and electrolyte analysis in rabbits. Vet Clin Exot Anim 16, 175-195 PubMed.
  • Benato L, Chesnel M, Eatwell K & Meredith A (2013) Arterial blood gas parameters in pet rabbits anaesthetized using a combination of fentanyl-fluanisone-midazolam-isofluorane. JSAP May 10. doi: 10.1111/jsap.12081 PubMed.
  • Stanford M (2004) Practical use of capnography in exotic animal anaesthesia. Exotic DVM (3), 49-52.

Other sources of information

  • Adams A P (1989) Capnography and Pulse Oximetery. In: Recent Advances in Anaesthesia and Analgesia. Eds: Atkins R S & Adams A P. Churchill Livingston, UK. pp 155-175.


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