To be a great internist you have to be great at blood gas interpretation. And you have to be able to do it quickly and efficiently. You have to understand what all the numbers mean and you have to get a good clinical sense of how to interpret them and how to change management based on their result. And you have to be able to do it without pulling out your formula books. In six years as a hospitalist I have never calculated what the compensatory responses should be. I just know.
Sometimes blood gases change your management or your medical opinion on what’s happening. Take for example my patient with advanced MS. She presented through the emergency department with “oropharyngeal bleeding of unclear etiology”. Her original BMP:
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*This blog post was originally published at A Happy Hospitalist*