The difference between mixed venous and arterial CO 2 tension

The difference between the C02 tension in arterial blood (PaC02) and mixed venous blood (Pi^02), termed P(E^-a)C02 or more recently PC02, is normally less than 1 kPa (7.5 mmHg). PCO2 may increase to up to 3.0 kPa (22.5 mmHg) in severe shock, and may increase in the presence of apparently adequate oxygen transport patterns and normal lactate levels in septic shock. This variable has an advantage over tonometry in that samples are available from systemic and pulmonary artery catheters which are already in situ. However, doubt has been cast on the validity of this variable as the sole indicator of inadequate Do2.

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