Definition of Carbon dioxide content

Carbon dioxide content: A measure of the bicarbonate level in the blood. The normal carbon dioxide content may vary somewhat from one laboratory to another. For example, it may be 20 to 29 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) of blood, 22 to 34 mEq/L, etc.

Higher than normal carbon dioxide levels may reflect excessive loss of acid (as with recurrent vomiting or continuous gastric drainage) or acid-base disorders (such as primary aldosteronism and Cushing syndrome).

Lower than normal carbon dioxide levels are common in acidosis (as in diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney disease, and severe diarrhea) or respiratory alkalosis in which too much carbon dioxide is blown off, for example, by hyperventilating.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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