A patient who is diagnosed with diabetes mellitus was ordered to have an arterial blood gas (ABG). The attending physician suspects that the patient is experiencing metabolic acidosis. Which set of arterial blood gases should the nurse expect to find if the patient is having metabolic acidosis?


• The correct answer is: pH: 7.29, pCO2: 22, HCO3: 14

• The pH is below normal (7.35-7.45) and bicarbonate is decreased (21-28). This is acidosis from a metabolic source.

• Metabolic acidosis is the result of the loss of too much base or the retention of too much acid, in this case, ketones.

• CO2 is decreased due to compensation of the lungs.

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