, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 117-120,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 24 Feb 2009

Comparison of the point-of-care blood gas analyzer versus the laboratory auto-analyzer for the measurement of electrolytes



Electrolyte values are measured both by arterial blood gas (ABG) analyzers and central laboratory auto-analyzers (AA), but a significant time gap exists between the availability of both these results, with the ABG giving faster results than the AA. The authors hypothesized that there is no difference between the results obtained after measurement of electrolytes by the blood gas and auto-analyzers.


After approval by the ethics committee, an observational cohort study was conducted in which 200 paired venous and arterial samples from patients admitted to the Medical Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Apollo Hospital, Hyderabad, India, were analyzed for electrolytes on the ABG machine and the AA. Analyses were done on the ABL555 blood gas analyzer and the Dade Dimension RxL Max, both located in the central laboratory. Statistical analyses were performed using paired Student’s t test.


A total of 200 paired samples were analyzed. The mean ABG sodium value was 131.28 (SD 7.33), and the mean AA sodium value was 136.45 (SD 6.50) (p < 0.001). The mean ABG potassium value was 3.74 (SD 1.92), and the mean AA potassium value was 3.896 (SD 1.848) (p = 0.2679).


Based on the above analysis, the authors found no significant difference between the potassium values measured by the blood gas machine and the auto-analyzer. However, the difference between the measured sodium was found to be significant. We therefore conclude that critical decisions can be made by trusting the potassium values obtained from the arterial blood gas analysis.