Blood Gas

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6. Blood Gases and Acid-Base Balance

Under normal conditions, physiologic and metabolic processes in the human body require specific and constant conditions for relevant reactions or mechanisms to occur. One of the most important factors that influence reactions and/or metabolic processes is the pH for the system or environment. The end product of most of the metabolic processes of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins is the production of acids ( organic acids, volatile acids and fixed acids). These acids if not neutralized would influence the physiologic pH of blood and tissues of the body. Therefore, a buffer system must be available to prevent the accumulation of these acids and to inhibit their harmful effects. This chapter describes the mechanism and action of buffers in maintaining the proper pH in health and in disease states.

Definitions (Review of basic concepts)
1. Acids: Compounds that release hydrogen (proton donors)
2. Bases: Compounds that accepts hydrogen (proton acceptor)
3. Strong Acids: Compounds with weak affinity to H+ (release all H+ ions)
4. Strong Base: Compounds with strong affinity to H+ (Bind H+ ions)
5. The dissociation constant K: It reflects the strength of an acid or base. The larger the K value, the greater the dissociation of H+ ions, thus the stronger the acid.
6. pK: is the negative log of K. The smaller the pK the stronger the acid (Strong acids has a pK 9.0)
7. Buffers: A combination of weak acid and its conjugate base (salt). It resists change of pH upon addition of small amounts of strong base.
8. The Handerson-Hasselbalch equation: It governs the mechanism of a buffer system. For the weak acid HA, it dissociates as follows: HA -----------> H+ + A-

The Handerson-Hasselbalch equation is written as follows:

A- pH = pK +…...

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