A nurse is caring for a patient who is receiving a test of arterial blood gases after being admitted as an inpatient to the hospital. The patient has the following ABG results: pH 7.26, PaO2 46mmHg, pCO2 50mmHg, HCO3 24mmHg. Which response from the nurse is most appropriate?


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- Increase the head of the patients bed and administer oxygen

- Check the patients blood pressure and increase the IV rate

- Administer antihistamines as ordered and continue to monitor skin changes

- Turn the patient on his left side and assess the back


The patient with the ABG levels described is experiencing respiratory acidosis, which is demonstrated by the low pH level and elevated pCO2. The nurse's first response is to increase oxygen to the patient to counteract the elevated carbon dioxide. The nurse should increase the head of the bed to facilitate easier breathing and give supplemental oxygen.

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