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CO2: About This Test

What is it?

This test measures the level of bicarbonate in your blood. Bicarbonate is a form of carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is a waste product of metabolism. Your blood carries it to your lungs, where it is exhaled. Bicarbonate keeps your blood at the right pH level (not too acidic, and not too basic).

The test is also called a carbon dioxide test or a bicarbonate test.

Why is this test done?

CO2 testing may be done as part of a group of blood tests (chemistry screen) to help find the cause of many kinds of symptoms, including many kidney diseases, some lung diseases, and metabolic conditions.

How do you prepare for the test?

  • In general, there's nothing you have to do before this test, unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may affect the results of the test. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the test and how soon to do it.

How is the test done?

  • A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.

How long does the test take?

The test will take a few minutes.

What happens after the test?

  • You will probably be able to go home right away.
  • You can go back to your usual activities right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.