Introduction

Techniques for blood analysis of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen ion concentration were developed more than a century ago. These techniques were confined to the research laboratory because several hours were required to obtain a single set of measurements ( Severiingiha,us..and Astruipi...198Z). In the 1950s, electrochemical techniques were introduced which took only a few minutes to measure arterial pH, PCO2, and PO2. However, the original electrodes required specific laboratory conditions and highly trained technicians. Nearly two decades of technical development were required to evolve blood gas analyzers that could reliably function in hospital clinical laboratories. The last 10 years has provided development of analytical technology that promises to function outside the laboratory environment.

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