Bicarbonate, Serum


Bicarbonate (HCO3) is a chemical that keeps the pH of blood from becoming too acid. If the pH level drops, HCO3 is absorbed by the kidneys and returned to the blood instead of passing out of the body in the urine. HCO3 is not usually tested by itself. It may be done on a venous blood sample as part of a panel of tests that looks at other electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium. It is often done along with a carbon dioxide test or as part of an arterial blood gas (ABG) test. For an arterial blood gas study, the blood sample is taken from an artery.


Increased bicarbonate levels are found in compensated respiratory acidosis and metabolic alkalosis. Decreased levels are seen in compensated respiratory alkalosis and metabolic acidosis.

Sample Type, Quantity & Conditions

2 ml Serum Keep On Ice Stability : 40 Hours at 15-25 °C 6 Days at 4-8 °C 6 Months at -20 °C

Special Precautions

Do not remove stopper. Keep under vacuum

Normal Range

Venous: 22.0 - 29.0 mmol/L Arterial: 21.0 - 28.0 mmol/L

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