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Bicarbonate, Serum

Serum bicarbonate measurement is used in the diagnosis and treatment of acid-base imbalance.

The total carbon dioxide content of the blood comes from two sources. The first, which contains more than 95% carbon dioxide, comes from kidney-regulated bicarbonate (HCO3). The other source (less than 5% of the total) is dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbonic acid (H2CO3), which is regulated by the lungs. These substances help maintain the body's acid-base balance by regulating the system. Thus, measuring the total carbon dioxide content (via bicarbonates) of the blood provides an overview of the body's buffering capacity.

Possible Interpretations of Pathological Values
  • Increase: Imbalance of hormones of the adrenal cortex, airway obstruction, alcoholism, aldosteronism, bradycardia, cardiac disorders, emphysema, fatty embolism, hypoventilation, metabolic alkalosis, pneumonia, pulmonary dysfunction, prolonged use of the nasogastric tube, pyloric obstruction, renal disorders, respiratory acidosis, respiratory diseases, severe vomiting. Medications: antacids, corticotropin, cortisone, mercury diuretics, sodium bicarbonate, thiazide diuretics.
  • Decrease: Alcoholic ketosis, dehydration, diabetic ketoacidosis, severe diarrhea, head trauma, high fever, liver disorders, hyperventilation, lactic acidosis, malabsorption syndrome, metabolic acidosis, renal disorders, acute renal failure, compensated respiratory alkalosis, salicylic poisoning, diet, uremia. Medications: acetazolamide, ammonium chloride, aspirin, chlorothiazide, dimercaprol, methicillin, nitrofurantoin, paraldehyde, tetracycline.



Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.

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