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Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2008 Feb;24(1):28-38; quiz 38-40. Epub 2007 Aug 6.

Pathophysiology of acid base balance: the theory practice relationship.

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Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, Chalfont Campus, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom.


There are many disorders/diseases that lead to changes in acid base balance. These conditions are not rare or uncommon in clinical practice, but everyday occurrences on the ward or in critical care. Conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (bronchitis or emphasaemia), diabetic ketoacidosis, renal disease or failure, any type of shock (sepsis, anaphylaxis, neurogenic, cardiogenic, hypovolaemia), stress or anxiety which can lead to hyperventilation, and some drugs (sedatives, opioids) leading to reduced ventilation. In addition, some symptoms of disease can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, which effects acid base balance. It is imperative that critical care nurses are aware of changes that occur in relation to altered physiology, leading to an understanding of the changes in patients' condition that are observed, and why the administration of some immediate therapies such as oxygen is imperative.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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