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Respirology. 2014 Feb;19(2):168-175. doi: 10.1111/resp.12225. Epub 2014 Jan 3.

Peripheral venous and arterial blood gas analysis in adults: are they comparable? A systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW, Australia.
Wales Anaesthesia, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW, Australia.
Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
Inflammation and Infection Research Centre (IIRC), Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Peripheral venous blood gas (PVBG) analysis is increasingly being used as a substitute for arterial blood sampling; however, comparability has not been clearly established. To determine if the pH, PCO2 and PO2 obtained from PVBG analysis is comparable with arterial blood gas (ABG) analysis. A search was conducted of electronic databases as well as hand-searching of journals and reference lists through December 2012 to identify studies comparing PVBG with ABG analysis in adult subjects. A systematic review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. A meta-analysis using a random effects model was used to calculate the average difference (bias) and the limits of agreement for the venous and arterial pH, PCO2 and PO2 . A total of 18 studies comprising 1768 subjects were included in the meta-analysis. There was considerable heterogeneity between studies with I(2) approaching 100%. There was little difference between the pH obtained from the PVBG and the ABG, with the arterial pH typically 0.03 higher than the venous pH (95% confidence interval 0.029-0.038). The venous and arterial PCO2 were not comparable because the 95% prediction interval of the bias for venous PCO2 was unacceptably wide, extending from -10.7 mm Hg to +2.4 mm Hg. The PO2 values compared poorly, the arterial PO2 typically 36.9 mm Hg greater than the venous with significant variability (95% confidence interval from 27.2 to 46.6 mm Hg). PVBG analysis compares well with ABG analysis for pH estimations in adults but not to the PCO2 or PO2 . These differences are sufficiently large to be of clinical significance.


arterial; carbon dioxide; meta-analysis; pH; venous

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