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November 1965

Acid-Base Problems in Hypothermia

Author Affiliations


Director of Clinical Laboratories and Professor of Clinical Chemistry, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark (Dr. Astrup) and Research Associate, Department of Pediatrics, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York (Dr. Engel).

Arch Intern Med. 1965;116(5):739-742. doi:10.1001/archinte.1965.03870050093013

THE USE OF hypothermia to reduce metabolism has introduced new problems in the acid-base field. Since induced hypothermia necessitates artificial ventilation of the patients, knowledge of the correct Pco2 and pH at which to maintain these patients is essential. This calls for determinations of blood pH and Pco2 in hypothermic patients. As a result methodological and theoretical problems have arisen. How should these measurements be carried out? At the usual measuring temperature (37 C or 38 C), or at the temperature of the patient, or at both temperatures? In any case it is necessary to know how the change of temperature itself affects the pH and Pco2 of the blood. In this paper we will discuss physicochemical and methodological problems of pH and Pco2 measurements at different temperatures as well as some physiological problems.

Physicochemical and Methodological Problems  The acid-base changes of plasma and whole blood with temperature are caused