Respiratory acidosis: Is the correction with bicarbonate worth?

L. Gattinoni, P. Taccone, E. Carlesso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bicarbonate infusion is traditionally used to increase pH during metabolic acidosis, but it has been also suggested increase the pH during permissive hypercapnia. In this paper we will discuss the physicochemical effect of adding (Na+ HCO3-), first in a closed system (venous blood) and then in an open system (the blood after the lung). According to Stewart model, in the closed system two independent variables are changed (CO2 and strong ion difference). As a first result changes in pH are negligible. If the CO2 is cleared by the lung and the PCO2 is maintained as before the infusion, the rise in pH is due to the SID increase caused by the (Na+) rise. The effect is independent on (HCO3-) infusion and equivalent to adding (Na+OH-) instead of (Na+HCO3-).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-557
Number of pages7
JournalMinerva Anestesiologica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • Acid-base equilibrium
  • Bicarbonate
  • Respiratory acidosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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