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Saturday, April 14, 2012

The argument against serial ABGs, or, Cheerios cereal is better than serial ABGs

Why do doctors order serial ABGs anyway?  It's not like he could possibly know the patient is going to be in respiratory or metabolic distress every morning?  Wouldn't Alpha Bits be a better option for the patient?  Or how about Spaghetti O's?  Better yet, Fruity Pebbles or Fruit Loop Cereals would be much more enjoyable by the patient and therefore useful.  Yet simply ordering serial ABGs isn't of much use to the patient nor the doctor unless by luck of some crap shoot they so happen to be out of whack.  Yet one would hope that if the AM ABG two days from the time they were ordered are out of whack that the doctor would have picked up on it long before that time.  So that's why I'm proposing that Corn Flakes or even Cheerios would be a better option.  At least the patient would benefit from the added nutrients. How about Oat Meal?  At least Oat meal is proven to lower cholesterol.  Now, we won't get into the fact Oat meal doesn't even have any cholesterol in it to begin with, yet Oat meal would be much more beneficial to everyone involved than Serial ABGS.  So what's up with serial ABGs anyway?  Why the doctor fascination with them?  Why not just use the free and painless pulse oximetry or end tidal CO2 monitoring?  What do you think?



Anonymous said...

We've been monitoring end tidal carbon dioxide in my ICU for some time now, but absolutely no one pays any attention to it. Serial ABGs are pretty common in my unit especially when the patient is unstable. They seem to be helpful in cases of shock and acidosis, ARDS, etc.

I would like to see more information about end tidal carbon dioxide monitoring and also about the various ventilator settings. Such as BiVent. Thanks.

Rick Frea said...

This is the capnogrophy cheat sheet I made for myself.  It's not perfect, but it works.  Actually,I'm with you in that no one pays attention to EtCO2