You know how it goes, respiratory acidosis/alkalosis and metabolic acidosis/alkalosis...blah blah blah. We never really understand how important this is, on the medic level, unless we work in the ER or on a SCT/CCT truck. However, acid base is very important, because if the patient is acidic, than we either have to change the way that they breathing or we need to administer sodium bicarb. On the other side, if they are alkalosis, than we need to change the way that they are breathing; in EMS we can't fix alkalosis patients.
If you are in metabolic acidosis/alkalosis, you go into respiratory compensation. Where if you are in respiratory acidosis/alkalosis, than your kidney's take over, trying to compensate.
Since today's topic with my partner was interesting, and since I learned some tricks, and it made me think, I felt that a post was needed, because I am sure that I am not the only one who forgot about acid base.
Normal pH: 7.35 - 7.45
Normal pCO2: 35 - 45 mmHg
Normal HCO3: 21 - 25 mEq/L
Normal CO2: 35-45
If pH is >45 and pCO2 is decreased....then you are in respiratory alkalosis
If pH is <35 and pCO2 is elevated...then you are in respiratory acidosis
If pH is >45 and HCO3 is elevated...then you are in metabolic alkalosis
If pH is <35 and HCO3 is decreased...then you are in metabolic acidosis
(click on picture to enlarge)