Blood Gas Analysis

Blood gas analysis can cause some confusion in hypothermia. Blood gas machines will warm the sample to 37°C and report those values. In vivo, the values will be different – partly because of the increased solubility of gases as the temperature of a liquid falls.

It is possible to mathematically ‘correct’ the values to the patient’s actual body temperature but interpretation of these values is very difficult – partly because we have little idea of what the ‘normal’ values for hypothermia should be.

To avoid confusion and ensure consistency use the ‘uncorrected’ values: that is the values the machine reports after warming the blood to the standard 37°C.