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Am J Perinatol. 2019 Jan 23. doi: 10.1055/s-0039-1677800. [Epub ahead of print]

Validation of the Siggaard-Andersen Acid-Base Nomogram for Hemoglobin F: Implications for Fetal Cord Blood Gas Analysis.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Texas Children's Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
Department of Pathology, Texas Children's Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.



 The calculation of HCO3 and base excess in current blood gas analysis is based on the Siggaard-Andersen equation. One of the constants in this equation is dependent on the known buffering capacity of hemoglobin A. We sought to investigate differences in buffering capacity between adult hemoglobin A and fetal hemoglobin F as a potential explanation for the observed poor correlation between calculated base excess in umbilical cord blood and newborn outcomes. Such differences would influence a key constant in the Van Slyke/Siggaard-Andersen equation used to calculate HCO3 and base excess and could be an explanation of these observations.


 This was a prospective observational study. We analyzed umbilical cord blood bicarbonate levels both as calculated values from a traditional blood gas analyzer and as measured values in 20 women giving birth at term. Since the calculated value is dependent upon the concentration and known buffering capacity of hemoglobin A, significant differences in these two analyses would imply differences in the buffering capacity of hemoglobins A and F.


 The mean calculated HCO3 value was 25 mEq/L (25.3 ± 1.9) compared with a mean measured value of 25 mEq/L (24.6 ± 1.7) over a range of pH levels of 7.16 to 7.42. This difference was not significant (p = 0.07).


 The buffering capacity of hemoglobin F, for clinical purposes, is not different than that of hemoglobin A and is not an explanation for the recognized poor correlation between base excess and neonatal outcome.


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