What is the role of serum chemistries in the workup of hypoventilation syndromes?

Updated: Jul 22, 2021
  • Author: Jazeela Fayyaz, DO; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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The most common finding in chronic hypoventilation after chemistry analysis is the presence of a compensatory increase in the serum bicarbonate (HCO3) concentration secondary to respiratory acidosis. A bicarbonate level of greater than 27 mmol/L can be used as a screening tool for obesity hypoventilation and hypercapnia. A bicarbonate level of less than 27 mmol/L has a high negative predictive value for excluding obesity hypoventilation syndrome when suspicion is not high. [11] Patients also occasionally may have hypercalcemia and hyperkalemia.

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