Clinical Case Database / Category: Case Based Discussion

Arterial blood gases in surgical patients

Publication details

Charlotte Richardson MBChB, Hiten Patel MBChB, Sonia Bhangu MBChB, Aneel Bhangu MBChB, MRCS
Foundation Years Journal, volume 4, issue 1, p.44 (123Doc Education, London, January 2010)


This article aims to give you more experience at interpreting arterial blood gases (ABG), with focus on situations you may find in surgical patients. You should, by now, know the methodology of how to interpret an ABG and so these questions will ask you to identify the type of acid-base disturbance; the likely diagnosis; and then the first steps of management that you should take. When reading the situation, begin to predict what type of acid-base disturbances the patient may be suffering from. The clues are there and you should be doing this as you assess real patients too.

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Charlotte Richardson MBChB

FY1 Surgery, Heart of England NHS Trust
Good Hope Hospital
Rectory Road
Sutton Coldfield
Birmingham B75 7RR

Hiten Patel MBChB

FY1 General Surgery, Heart of England NHS Trust
Good Hope Hospital
Rectory Road
Sutton Coldfield
Birmingham B75 7RR

Sonia Bhangu MBChB

CT2 Intensive Care, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwick NHS Trust

Aneel Bhangu MBChB, MRCS

ST3 General Surgery
Russells Hall Hospital
West Midlands Deanery




Conflict Of Interest

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The authors of this article have not been paid. The Journal is financed by subscriptions and advertising. The Journal does not receive money from any other sources. The decision to accept or refuse this article for publication was free from financial considerations and was solely the responsibility of the Editorial Panel and Editor-in-Chief.

Patient Consent statement

All pictures and investigations shown in this article are shown with the patients’ consent. We require Authors to maintain patients’ anonymity and to obtain consent to report investigations and pictures involving human subjects when anonymity may be compromised. The Journal follows the Guidelines of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts ( The Journal requires in its Guidelines for Authors a statement from Authors that “the subject gave informed consent”.

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About the Clinical Cases Database

T​he Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database is​ a selection of 600 peer-reviewed clinical cases in the field of patient safety and clinical practice, specifically focused on the clinical information needs of junior doctors, based around the Foundation Year Curriculum programme (MMC). The cases have been chosen to align with the Foundation Year Curriculum.

The database is fully searchable, or can be browsed by medical specialty. Abstracts can be read free of charge, however a subscription is required in order to read the complete cases.