Blood gas analyzers measure partial pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide, pH, bicarbonate, oxygen saturation and oxygen content in the blood. Toxic gases such as carbon monoxide can also be discovered through arterial blood gas (ABG) analysis.
Physicians use ABG tests to check for acute breathing difficulties, asthma, cystic fibrosis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); how effective lung disease treatment is; patient oxygen requirements; measurement of acid-base level in patients suffering from heart or kidney failure, unrestrained diabetes, and other conditions.
Widely used in hospitals and critical care facilities, this medical lab equipment is now finding use in sports, especially in training programs for athletes and rowers. Using just a small blood sample from an artery at the wrist or groin or even the earlobe, blood gas analyzers can provide valuable information and make a contribution to the individual’s training and performance. For instance, if the person displays breathing problems or breathlessness, a blood gas test can help detect respiratory difficulties. Measuring the levels of bicarbonate in rowers’ blood gives information on how rowers react to intense training. Increase in bicarbonate levels means that the sportsperson has a better ability to stave off acidic muscular conditions during high-intensity exercise. It is the build up of acid inside the muscle cells that leads to fatigue. So the information on the bicarbonate level that a blood gas analyzer is extremely useful when it comes to helping athletes and rowers improve performance.
Will the blood gas analyzer contribute to a winning athletic or rowing team performance in the 2012 London Olympics?