Limitations of blood gas analyzers

An analyzer is a device that performs measurements on fluids, excrement, or tissue permanently removed from the body. Blood gas analyzers utilize electrochemical techniques for measurement of pH, PCO2, and PO2. Despite impressive technological advances, blood gas analyzers continue to have three major disadvantages.

1. There is a limited frequency of measurements because blood must be permanently removed from the patient.

2. There is delay in receiving the results, which makes the values an isolated reflection of a previous time in a dynamic physiological continuum.

3. The blood sample is subject to preanalytic error.

Despite these impediments associated with blood gas analyzers, arterial pH, PCO2, and PO2 measurements are the most frequently ordered laboratory examination in the ICU and the operating room.

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