Open Access Articles- Top Results for Acid%E2%80%93base imbalance

Acid–base imbalance

Acid–base imbalance
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 E87.2-E87.4
ICD-9 276.2-276.4
NCI Acid–base imbalance
Patient UK Acid–base imbalance
MeSH D000137
Blood gas, acid-base, & gas exchange terms
PaO2 Arterial oxygen tension, or partial pressure
PAO2 Alveolar oxygen tension, or partial pressure
PaCO2 Arterial carbon dioxide tension, or partial pressure
PACO2 Alveolar carbon dioxide tension, or partial pressure
PvO2 Oxygen tension of mixed venous blood
P(A-a)O2 Alveolar-arterial oxygen tension difference. The term formerly used (A-a DO2) is discouraged.
P(a/A)O2 Alveolar-arterial tension ratio; PaO2:PAO2 The term oxygen exchange index describes this ratio.
C(a-v)O2 Arteriovenous oxygen content difference
SaO2 Oxygen saturation of the hemoglobin of arterial blood
SpO2 Oxygen saturation as measured by pulse oximetry
CaO2 Oxygen content of arterial blood
pH Symbol relating the hydrogen ion concentration or activity of a solution to that of a standard solution; approximately equal to the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration. pH is an indicator of the relative acidity or alkalinity of a solution

Acid–base imbalance is an abnormality of the human body's normal balance of acids and bases that causes the plasma pH to deviate out of the normal range (7.35 to 7.45). In the fetus, the normal range differs based on which umbilical vessel is sampled (umbilical vein pH is normally 7.25 to 7.45; umbilical artery pH is normally 7.18 to 7.38).[1] It can exist in varying levels of severity, some life-threatening.


File:Davenport fig 10.jpg
A Davenport diagram illustrates acid–base imbalance graphically.

An excess of acid is called acidosis or acidaemia and an excess in bases is called alkalosis or alkalemia. The process that causes the imbalance is classified based on the etiology of the disturbance (respiratory or metabolic) and the direction of change in pH (acidosis or alkalosis). This yields the following four basic processes:

process pH carbon dioxide compensation
metabolic acidosis down down respiratory
respiratory acidosis down up renal
metabolic alkalosis up up respiratory
respiratory alkalosis up down renal

Mixed disorders

The presence of only one of the above derangements is called a simple acid–base disorder. In a mixed disorder more than one is occurring at the same time.[2] Mixed disorders may feature an acidosis and alkosis at the same time that partially counteract each other, or there can be two different conditions affecting the pH in the same direction. The phrase "mixed acidosis", for example, refers to metabolic acidosis in conjunction with respiratory acidosis. Any combination is possible, except concurrent respiratory acidosis and respiratory alkalosis, since a person cannot breathe too fast and too slow at the same time.

Calculation of imbalance

The traditional approach to the study of acid–base physiology has been the empiric approach. The main variants are the base excess approach and the bicarbonate approach. The quantitative approach introduced by Peter A Stewart in 1978[3] is newer.


There are numerous reasons that each of the four processes can occur (detailed in each article). Generally speaking, sources of acid gain include:

  1. Retention of carbon dioxide
  2. Production of nonvolatile acids from the metabolism of proteins and other organic molecules
  3. Loss of bicarbonate in feces or urine
  4. Intake of acids or acid precursors

Sources of acid loss include:

  1. Use of hydrogen ions in the metabolism of various organic anions
  2. Loss of acid in the vomitus or urine
  3. Gastric aspiration in hospital
  4. Severe diarrhea


The body's acid–base balance is tightly regulated. Several buffering agents exist which reversibly bind hydrogen ions and impede any change in pH. Extracellular buffers include bicarbonate and ammonia, while proteins and phosphate act as intracellular buffers. The bicarbonate buffering system is especially key, as carbon dioxide (CO2) can be shifted through carbonic acid (H2CO3) to hydrogen ions and bicarbonate (HCO3) as shown below.

<math>\rm HCO_3^- + H^+ \leftrightarrow H_2CO_3 \leftrightarrow CO_2 + H_2O</math>

Acid–base imbalances that overcome the buffer system can be compensated in the short term by changing the rate of ventilation. This alters the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood, shifting the above reaction according to Le Chatelier's principle, which in turn alters the pH. For instance, if the blood pH drops too low (acidemia), the body will compensate by increasing breathing, expelling CO2, and shifting the following reaction to the right such that less hydrogen ions are free – thus the pH will rise back to normal. For alkalemia, the opposite occurs.

The kidneys are slower to compensate, but renal physiology has several powerful mechanisms to control pH by the excretion of excess acid or base. In responses to acidosis, tubular cells reabsorb more bicarbonate from the tubular fluid, collecting duct cells secrete more hydrogen and generate more bicarbonate, and ammoniagenesis leads to increased formation of the NH3 buffer. In responses to alkalosis, the kidney may excrete more bicarbonate by decreasing hydrogen ion secretion from the tubular epithelial cells, and lowering rates of glutamine metabolism and ammonia excretion.


  1. Yeomans, ER; Hauth, JC; Gilstrap, LC III; Strickland DM (1985). "Umbilical cord pH, PCO2, and bicarbonate following uncomplicated term vaginal deliveries (146 infants)". Am J Obstet Gynecol 151 (6): 798–800. PMID 3919587. doi:10.1016/0002-9378(85)90523-x. 
  2. "Mixed Acid Base Disorders: Acid Base Tutorial, University of Connecticut Health Center". Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  3. Stewart P (1978). "Independent and dependent variables of acid-base control". Respir Physiol 33 (1): 9–26. PMID 27857. doi:10.1016/0034-5687(78)90079-8. 

External links


el:Ισορροπία οξέων - βάσεων es:Trastornos del equilibrio ácido-base fr:Métabolisme acido-basique fr:Équilibre acido-basique hr:Poremećaji acidobazne ravnoteže it:Equilibrio acido base uk:Буферні системи it:yeshwanth notes