Biochemistry at The Biology Project

Clinical Correlates of pH Levels
Problem Set

Problem 9: Hyperventilation

A 19-year-old male presents to the emergency room with the following blood gases:

pH 7.55 7.35-7.45
pCO2 25 mm Hg 35-45 mm Hg
[HCO3-] 22 mmol/liter 24-28 mmol/liter

His companions report that he was "trying to set the world record for holding his breath underwater", but had fainted after hyperventilating for 15 minutes.

What condition does this patient appear to have?

A. uncompensated respiratory alkalosis
B. uncompensated metabolic alkalosis
C. partially compensated respiratory alkalosis
The pCO2 value, which varies from normal in the opposite direction to pH, is the cue to a respiratory problem. The lowered HCO3- represents an attempt by the kidney to compensate, which is only partial in this case.
D. partially compensated metabolic alkalosis

[Problem 9] [Tutorial]

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January 19, 1999
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