NBME 21

nbme21/Block 2/Question#9

A 40-year-old man is brought to the emergency ...

Metabolic acidosis and respiratory acidosis

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submitted by mcl(0),

When working on acid/base disorders, it helps to look systematically at the following: (1) pH (which sadly was not given in this problem), (2) figure out which problem is primary by looking at PaCO2 and bicarb, and (3) look for any compensation (which the question doesn't ask but still).

Here, we see that the CO2 is high on the ABG. This means that patient is hypoventilating since levels of CO2 are ventilation dependent, and also that patient has respiratory acidosis. Also, bicarb is low, which implies that it's being "soaked up" by metabolic acidosis.