What is the role of PCO2 measurement in the evaluation of an acute asthma episode?

Updated: Nov 20, 2020
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Venous levels of PCO2 have been tested as a substitute for arterial measurements, and a venous PCO2 greater than 45 mm may serve as a screening test but cannot substitute for the ABG evaluation of respiratory function.

Hypercarbia is of concern in that it reflects inadequate ventilation and may indicate the need for mechanical ventilation if the PCO2 is elevated as a result of patient exhaustion; however, the decision to proceed with endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation is a clinical assessment.

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