A 2-Month-Old Receiving Anesthetic: Osmosis USMLE Study Question

May 14, 2021

Both the pH and plasma bicarbonate of a healthy infant are lower than those of a healthy adult. The average blood pH for a healthy infant is 7.37, compared with an average pH of approximately 7.4 for a healthy adult. The average plasma bicarbonate for infants is 22 mEq/L, whereas adults typically have a bicarbonate of 24 mEq/L. The more acidic nature of infant blood is due to the fact that infants have immature renal tubules and are thus unable to fully reabsorb all of the filtered bicarbonate.

Major Takeaway: Compared to an adult, an infant's normal pH and plasma bicarbonate tend to be lower. This is due to the immature renal tubules in infants, which cannot reabsorb all of the filtered bicarbonate.

Read more on pediatric sedation.

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