article is reprinted from Kaiser Permanente Web Site
An arterial blood gas (ABG) test measures the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood to determine how well your lungs are working. It evaluates the ability of your lungs to move oxygen into the blood and to remove carbon dioxide from the blood.
As blood passes through your lungs, oxygen moves into the blood while carbon dioxide moves out of the blood into the airspace of the lungs. An ABG test uses blood drawn from an artery, where the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels can be measured before they enter body tissues and become changed. An ABG measures:
Abnormal values for oxygen, carbon dioxide, and pH can be caused by changes in:
Most blood tests are done on a sample of blood taken from a vein, after the blood has already passed through the body's tissues where the oxygen is used up and carbon dioxide is produced. An ABG test is usually taken from the radial artery in the wrist. Arteries in the elbow (brachial) and groin (femoral) may also be used.
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