Clinics and Departments

Laboratory Services

Lab Dept:


Test Name:


General Information

Lab Order Codes:



Arterial blood gas

CPT Codes:

82803 – Gases, blood, any combination of pH, pCO2, pO2, CO2, HCO3 (including calculated O2 saturation)

Test Includes:

pH (no units), pCO2 and pO2 measured in mmHg, sO2 and O2AD measured in %, HCO3 and BE measured in mmol/L, Temperature (degrees C) and ST (specimen type)


Test Indications:

Useful for evaluating oxygen and carbon dioxide gas exchange; respiratory function, including hypoxia; and acid/base balance. It is also useful in assessment of asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other types of lung disease; embolism, including fat embolism; and coronary artery disease.

Lab Testing Sections:


Phone Numbers:

MIN Lab: 612-813-6280

STP Lab: 651-220-6550

Test Availability:

Daily, 24 hours

Turnaround Time:

30 minutes

Special Instructions:

Arterial punctures, arterial line and indwelling arterial catheter samples must be obtained by physicians or qualified staff from radial, brachial, femoral arteries or catheter sites.


Specimen Type:

Whole blood


Preferred: Sims Portex syringe (PB151) or Smooth-E syringe (956-463)

Draw Volume:

0.4 mL (Minimum: 0.2 mL) blood

Processed Volume:

0.2 mL blood


Arterial punctures must be performed by qualified personnel. Prior to radial artery sampling, a test for collateral circulation should be performed and documented. Once the puncture has been performed or the arterial line specimen drawn, immediately remove all air from the syringe. Remove the needle, cap tightly and gently mix. Forward the specimen promptly at ambient temperature.

Note on arterial line draws: The IV solution must be removed from the system prior to collection to prevent contamination.

Special Processing:

Lab Staff: Deliver the specimen to the blood gas testing station. Testing must be completed within 30 minutes of collection.

Patient Preparation:

The patient should have been stabilized on ventilator settings. The patient’s temperature and O2 concentration of inspired air should be recorded.

Sample Rejection:

Mislabeled or unlabeled specimens; samples containing air; non-heparinized samples; collection times exceeding 30 minutes and clotted samples


Reference Range:

O2 Saturation:

95 – 98%


80 – 105 mm Hg



35 – 48 mm Hg


32 – 45 mm Hg


7.35 – 7.45


22 – 27 mmol/L

Base Excess (BE):

Newborn (0-7 days):

-10 to -2 mmol/L

Infant (1 week-1 year):

-7 to -1 mmol/L

Child (1-16 years):

-4 to +2 mmol/L

Adult (>16 years):

-3 to +3 mmol/L

Critical Values:

pCO2: <15 or >70 mm Hg

pH: <7.2 or >7.6

pO2: <40 mm Hg




Ion-Selective Electrode, HCO3 and BE by calculation


ABL800 FLEX Operator’s Manual from software version 6.00, Publication: 200802, Edition: H, Code number: 990-315,

Jacobs & DeMott Laboratory Test Handbook (2001) Lexi-Comp, Inc, Hudson, OH, 5th Edition

Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry (1999) 3rd Edition, W.B. Saunders Company

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