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Describe The Respiratory Response To Metabolic Acidosis

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Respiratory Acidosis

What is respiratory acidosis? Respiratory acidosis is a condition that occurs when the lungs can’t remove enough of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by the body. Excess CO2 causes the pH of blood and other bodily fluids to decrease, making them too acidic. Normally, the body is able to balance the ions that control acidity. This balance is measured on a pH scale from 0 to 14. Acidosis occurs when the pH of the blood falls below 7.35 (normal blood pH is between 7.35 and 7.45). Respiratory acidosis is typically caused by an underlying disease or condition. This is also called respiratory failure or ventilatory failure. Normally, the lungs take in oxygen and exhale CO2. Oxygen passes from the lungs into the blood. CO2 passes from the blood into the lungs. However, sometimes the lungs can’t remove enough CO2. This may be due to a decrease in respiratory rate or decrease in air movement due to an underlying condition such as: There are two forms of respiratory acidosis: acute and chronic. Acute respiratory acidosis occurs quickly. It’s a medical emergency. Left untreated, symptoms will get progressively worse. It can become life-threatening. Chronic respiratory acidosis develops Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. One of our CDI noted an elevated lactic acid and queried the physician for a diagnosis. The patient did not have Sepsis. Our physician advisor said not to do that because the next lactic acid was normal. She said we should also be looking for the underlying cause of the lactic acidosis and not querying for the diagnosis. A diagnosis of lactic acidosis will give us a CC. Other CDI's have said that if the elevated lactic acid was treated, monitored or evaluated we should be querying for the diagnosis. Does anyone have any direction on how this should be handled?
    Is lactic acidosis always inherent in other conditions and that's what we should focus on?
    What can we pick up the diagnosis by itself as a CC / when should we query to get to documented in the chart?
    Are there any other clinical parameters we should be looking at when evaluating whether we should query such as the anion gap?
    Is there a specific treatment for metabolic acidosis?
    Thank you,
    Christine Butka RN MSN
    CDI Lead
    CentraState Medical Center
    Freehold, NJ

  2. What a timely comment. Recently, our coding auditor suggested that we should always keep an eye out for the cc "acidosis". It seems to me that lactic acidosis could be inherent to the disease process of sepsis and therefore should not be captured. Any thoughts?
    Yvonne B RN CDI Salinas, CA.

  3. Hello all! I agree, I believe lactic acidosis is inherent to sepsis. It is one of the most important indicators that gives the clnician a clue that sepsis may be present. Our fluid administration policy was actually developed on the lactic acid result: the higher the number, the more fluid we bolused (in non-CHF patients, of course). In cases were Sepsis is determined not to be present, we will query the provider, providing they treated or monitored the acidosis in some manner
    Shiloh

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