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CMP >> Bicarbonate test
Bicarbonate (HCO3-) blood test

Alternate names
Serum Bicarbonate
Blood Bicarbonate test

Why blood bicarbonate test is important?
It is a laboratory test done to measures the amount of carbon dioxide in the liquid part of your blood, called the serum. It should be noted that, most of the CO2 in our bodies is in the form of a substance called bicarbonate (HCO3-). Therefore, the CO2 blood test is really a measure of your blood bicarbonate level. Variations in your CO2 level may suggest that you are losing or retaining fluid, which causes an imbalance in your body's electrolytes.

When the blood bicarbonate test is done?
CO2 levels in the blood are influenced by kidney and lung function. The kidneys are mainly responsible for maintaining the normal bicarbonate levels. Therefore, blood bicarbonate test is one of the important measures to evaluate and monitor proper functioning of both of your kidneys.
The test is also done as a routine part of basic metabolic test panel.

What will the results of blood bicarbonate test tell me?
The bicarbonate levels are low in alkaline conditions (when the blood becomes alkaline) and will rise in response to acidity.

Normal range: The normal range is 20-29 mEq/L (milliequivalent per liter).
High range: A high range of blood bicarbonate is found in the following disorders:

  • Breathing (lung) disorders
  • Hormonal disorders like Cushing syndrome and Hyperaldosteronism
  • Excessive vomiting

Low range: A lower-than-normal range of blood bicarbonate is found in the following disorders:

  • Liver or kidney disease
  • A severe heart attack
  • Any disorder which could lead to excessive breathing e.g. aspirin or alcohol overdose, diarrhea, dehydration, severe malnutrition, severe burns, and shock

How the blood bicarbonate test is done?
As in many other blood tests, a small sample of blood (about 5 mL) is drawn with the help of a syringe from your hand, forearm or elbow and is then sent for analysis.


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