How is the diagnosis of metabolic acidosis made?

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

The diagnosis is made by evaluating serum electrolytes and ABGs. A low serum HCO3- and a pH of less than 7.40 upon ABG analysis confirm metabolic acidosis. The anion gap (AG) should be calculated to help with the differential diagnosis of the metabolic acidosis and to diagnose mixed disorders. In general, a high-AG acidosis is present if the AG is greater than 10-12 mEq/L, and a non-AG acidosis is present if the AG is less than or equal to 10-12 mEq/L. It is important to note that the AG decreases by 2.5 mEq for every 1 g/dL decrease in serum albumin.


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