Martin et al1 retrospectively studied more than 2000 nontrauma-related surgical ICU admissions and reported that serum bicarbonate (HCO3) might provide information equivalent to the arterial base deficit (BD). This conclusion is a bit surprising, as is their determination that the normal BD of 0 is associated with an HCO3 level of 22 mEq/L rather than the typical level of 24.
Lujan E, Howard R. Venous Bicarbonate Correlates Linearly With Arterial Base Deficit Only If pH Is Constant. Arch Surg. 2006;141(1):105. doi:10.1001/archsurg.141.1.105-a