A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder

What does 'arterial blood gasses' mean?

Find out what arterial blood gasses means. Arterial blood gasses is explained by Margaret McMillion - author of PERSONAL BAGGAGE

arterial blood gasses

An arterial blood gas analysis provides information on oxygenation of blood through gas exchange in the lungs, carbon dioxide elimination through respiration, and acid-base balance or imbalance in the blood.

The test, also referred to as ABGs, is usually performed by a respiratory therapist, who uses a long, thin needle to puncture an artery (usually the radial artery in the wrist) and draw blood into a syringe. The blood is taken (within ten minutes) to a blood gas analyzer (or placed on ice). Results are usually available within five minutes.

ABGs tell how much oxygen is being carried on the hemoglobin molecule and whether the blood is acidotic or alkalotic, but determining whether the cause is respiratory or metabolic is complicated.

The puncture site must be held with pressure for ten minutes because coursing blood within the artery prevents sealing of the wound for at least that long. A pressure dressing should then be applied.

In PERSONAL BAGGAGE on page 35, when Penny and Maureen provide oxygen to the patient with a collapsed lung, she becomes comfortable immediately because, although only one lung is functioning properly, she is able to fill her good lung with air carrying a high percentage of oxygen.

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Chapter 3: Chapter Three
"... By phone, Penny described the patient’s condition to Dr. Lawrence and received orders for a STAT electrocardiogram, arterial blood gasses, and a portable chest X-ray. As she replaced the receiver, one of Respiratory’s summer-student helpers arrived to answer Penny’s page. “Where ..."

Chapter 4: Chapter Four
"...Dr. Ghent threw open the outside door and charged to the bedside. Puffing, he listened to what the nurses said and placed his stethoscope against the patient’s right lung fields. He ordered a STAT portable chest X-ray and arterial blood gasses. By this time the woman seemed comfortable, even embarrassed at all the fuss. While the diagnostic procedures were carried out, Penny gave Report to the two night-shift nurses who were drinking coffee, waiting to take over. ..."

Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
"... and turned into the emergency lane at the hospital. As soon as Bob had been moved onto a gurney in the ER, a respiratory therapist drew arterial blood gasses. He filled three vials with blood, much more than would be needed for ABGs. Maureen was right: they wouldn’t use Dixiana’s lab ..."

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arterial blood gasses

"A nurse juggles jobs at two Mississippi hospitals, aging parents and a stressed marriage in McMillion's novel .... a comprehensive..."

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