Objectives: Recent reports on venous blood gas analysis have shown that venous bicarbonate concentration is useful in the evaluation of the body acid-base status. Most of these reports have been based on the Bland-Altman analysis comparing arterial and venous blood gas values. We intended to elucidate any factors that decrease the agreement between venous and arterial bicarbonate concentrations, which might impair the usefulness of venous blood gas analysis. Methods: Healthy volunteers and patients with various diseases (n = 141) were evaluated by simultaneous arterial and venous blood sampling and Bland-Altman analysis. The venous-arterial bicarbonate concentration difference was compared between healthy volunteers and untreated respiratory alkalosis patients. Intentional hyperventilation (30 or 60 breaths/min, for 3 min) was also performed on 6 healthy volunteers and the venous-arterial bicarbonate concentration difference was evaluated. Results: The relative average bias in bicarbonate concentration was 2.00 mEq/l with venous bicarbonate higher than arterial bicarbonate with 95% limits of agreement of ±4.15 mEq/l. Hyperventilation challenges increased the venous-arterial bicarbonate concentration difference in an intensity-dependent manner. The venous-arterial bicarbonate concentration difference was higher in untreated respiratory alkalosis patients than in healthy volunteers (P < 0.01). Conclusion: Although venous bicarbonate may be useful to evaluate the body acid-base status, hyperventilation increases the venous-arterial bicarbonate concentration difference. Physicians should keep this phenomenon in mind.
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