# Acid-base disorders

## Background

Determiners of acid-base status are:

• CO2
• Weak acids (primarily albumin)
• If albumin goes up more acidotic (since albumin is an acid)
• Strong ions
• Primarily Na-Cl
• Normal difference is ~38 (140-102)
• If difference shrinks (i.e. more Cl) more acidotic
• Principle of electrical neutrality requires more H+ to offset the additional Cl
• If difference increases (i.e. more Na) more alkaloatic
• Principle of electrical neutrality requires more bicarb to offset the additional Na

### Strong ion gap (SIG)

• Equivalent to anion gap
• Strong ions include Na, Cl, lactate, ketoacid, toxic alcohols

### Base Deficit (BD)

• Eliminates the respiratory component of acidosis so only left with the metabolic component
• Is equivalent to the amount of base (or acid) you would have to add to get to pH 7.4
• Base excess of -6 = base deficit of 6
• Normal = -2 to +2
• If base deficit is normal but pt is acidotic must all be from CO2
• If base deficit is abnormal must explain by SID, weak acids, or unmeasured strong ions
• If no BD is available 24.2 – serum bicarb can be used as okay substitute

## Diagnosis

Diagnosis is based on clinical history as well as labs:

• VBG/ABG
• Lactate
• Albumin
• Acetone
• Chemistry
• Serum Osmolarity

## Step Wise Approach

• Based on a stepwise approach taught about by Dr. Weingart based on the Stewart's Strong Ion Difference[1][2]

### Determine pH

• If pH >7.45 then patient's primary problem is alkalosis
• If pH <7.35 the patient's primary problem is acidosis
• The body never over-corrects any acid-base disorder!

### Evaluate blood gas

• If >45 then respiratory acidosis
• If <35 respiratory acidosis

Calculate the strong ion difference (SID)

### Calculate Strong Ion Difference (SID)

• SID = Na - Cl

Low SID is <38 and indicates a strong ion acidosis = hyperchloremic acidosis = non-gap acidosis

• Causes include:
2. Any fluid that has SID of <24 can cause acidosis (e.g. NS, 1/2NS, D5W)
• Renal Tubular Acidosis
1. Calculate Urine Anion Gap: (Urine Na + K – Cl); if negative, not RTA
2. Type I: Urine pH <5.55
3. Type II: Urine pH >5.55
4. Type IV: Hyperkalemic; from aldosterone deficiency, diabetes
• Diarrhea

High SID is >38 and indicates a metabolic alkalosis

• Causes include:
• Nasogastric suction
• Diuretics
• Hyperaldosteronism
• Volume depletion

### Evaluate the Lactate

• If >2 then the patient has hyperlactatemia
• If >4 and the patient has an infection they should be considered Severe Sepsis
• Always consider the differential for a Lactic Acidosis (Lactate)
• Calculate the strong ion gap (SIG) to explain the base deficit
• SIG = (Base Deficit) + (SID – 38) + 2.5 (4.2 ‐ Albumin (g/dL)) – lactate
• If SIG >2 this is a SIG metabolic acidosis = anion gap acidosis and the causes include:
• If SIG is negative (very rare) the differential includes:

### Determinants of compensation

Metabolic acidosis:

• PaCO2 = 1.5 (HCO3) + 8
• PaCO2 = last two digits of pH
• PaCO2= ↓ 1.0–1.5per ↓ 1mEq/L HCO3

Metabolic alkalosis

• PaCO2 = 0.9 (HCO3) + 9
• PaCO2= ↑ 0.5–1.0 mm per ↑ 1mEq/L HCO3

Respiratory acidosis and alkalosis (acute acid-base changes based on PCO2 and HCO3):

• ∆H+=0.8 (∆PaCO2)
• For every ↑ or ↓ of PCO2 by 1 the pH changes by 0.008
• For every ↑ or ↓ of HCO3 by 1 the pH changes by 0.015

Estimate of baseline PCO2 in patients with Acute Respiratory Acidosis:

• Estimated baseline PCO2 = 2.4 (admission measured HCO3 – 22)

### Calculate the osmolar gap

• Indicated if have elevated SIG without explanation
• Osm Gap = Measured Osmal – (2 Na + Gluc/18 + BUN/2.8 + ETOH/3.7)
• Positive if osm gap >10 and differential includes:

## Management

### IV Fluids

• Normal SID (Na-Cl) is 38
• Fluid that has SID of 38 would be basic b/c it would dilute out the albumin (weak acid)
• Fluid that has SID identical to pt's serum bicarb is pH neutral
• If SID of fluid is greater than pt's bicarb level then it is alkalotic
• If SID of fluid is less than pt's bicarb level then it is acidotic

#### Examples

• NS or 1/2NS
• (SID = 0) so is acidotic so causes hyperchloremic acidosis
• LR
• SID of 24-28
• D5W
• SID of 0
• NaBicarb
• SID is 892 (very alkalotic) is 8.4%

^Consider balanced solution (LR) in pts w/ low pH (e.g. DKA)