Objective: In intensive care units arterial blood sampling is routine for analysing acid-base and oxygenation status. In nonintensive departments arterial blood sampling is seldom performed. Venous blood sampling is routine but not usually analysed for acid-base and oxygenation status. This study describes the correlation between arterial and peripheral, central and mixed venous pH, PCO2 and PO2 in a wide range of adult patients.
Methods: Arterial and venous blood samples were taken anaerobically and simultaneously. The values of pH, PCO2 and PO2 were compared using Bland-Altman plots.
Results: A total of 103 patients were included. The arteriovenous difference (bias+/-SD) for pH was 0.026+/-0.023 and for PCO2 -0.60+/-0.57 kPa (peripheral venous blood), 0.036+/-0.014 and -0.79+/-0.26 kPa (central venous blood) and 0.026+/-0.010 and -0.67+/-0.22 kPa (mixed venous blood). The arteriovenous difference for PO2 for peripheral, central and mixed venous blood was 6.27+/-4.36, 8.33+/-3.94 and 11.00+/-4.87 kPa, respectively.
Conclusion: The venous values of pH, corrected for bias, can give arterial values which are within reasonable laboratory and clinical acceptance criteria. For PCO2 this is also true, except for peripheral blood, where the standard deviation is outside laboratory acceptance criteria but within clinical acceptance criteria. For PO2 the arteriovenous differences are not randomly distributed and even for PO2<or=12 kPa the value of the mean difference is clearly outside both laboratory and reasonable clinical acceptance criteria.