What is the role of arterial blood gas (ABG) measurement in the diagnosis of asthma, and when is an ABG measurement indicated?

Updated: Jan 07, 2019
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

Arterial blood gas (ABG) measurement provides important information in acute asthma. This test may reveal dangerous levels of hypoxemia or hypercarbia secondary to hypoventilation; typically, results are consistent with respiratory alkalosis. Because of the accuracy and utility of pulse oximetry, only patients whose oxygenation is not restored to over 90% with oxygen therapy require an ABG. The clinical picture usually obviates ABGs for most ED patients with acute asthma.


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