Carbon Dioxide Testing

Submitted by Medical Health Test Team on November 9, 2012

The level of carbonic acid, bicarbonate, and dissolved carbon dioxide in your blood is measured with the help of a carbon dioxide test. This test goes by various names such as the TCO2 test or total carbon dioxide.

The gaseous waste product that is made mainly from metabolism is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide or CO2 is carried by blood to your lungs. It is then exhaled from your lungs. A large part of the carbon dioxide that is present in your blood is mainly in the form of bicarbonate. This accounts for almost 90%. The rest is found in a dissolved form, mainly in the form of carbon dioxide gas or in the form of carbonic acid. The levels of all these are balanced with the help of your kidneys and lungs.

Carbon Dioxide test is generally done when you have some kind of breathing problems. It is usually a part of a chemistry screening or laboratory blood tests that help in finding why you have certain symptoms. No preparation is required for this test.

Before the test it is important that you tell your doctor what medication you are taking. This is because medication may affect the test results. If you have any concerns about the test, talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to explain what is involved as far as the test is concerned.

The actual process is very simple. The health professional will draw blood from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around this arm to prevent the flow of blood. This makes it easier for your health care professional to draw blood from your vein. The area from where the blood is to be drawn will be cleaned with the help of an antiseptic or germ killing medicine. A needle is then inserted in your vein to collect blood. Sometimes your health care professional may insert additional needles. Once he or she collects enough blood, the band from you arm is removed. The puncture site is covered with a gauze pad when you remove the needle. Pressure is applied to the site and a bandage is then put on it.

When the health care professional is drawing blood from your vein you may feel a slight sting or a pinch. The risks involved as far as removing a blood sample is concerned are very little unless you have some kind of blood clotting disorder. Check with your doctor to find out what the test results mean.

More articles from the Blood Tests Category