What is the role of serum electrolyte measurement in the workup of metabolic acidosis?

Updated: Oct 10, 2018
  • Author: Christie P Thomas, MBBS, FRCP, FASN, FAHA; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

Often the first clue to metabolic acidosis is a decreased serum HCO3- concentration observed when serum electrolytes are measured. Remember, however, that a decreased serum [HCO3-] level can be observed as a compensatory response to respiratory alkalosis. An [HCO3-] level of less than 15 mEq/L, however, almost always is due, at least in part, to metabolic acidosis.


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