An arterial blood gas is drawn from a patient receiving 100% oxygen via mask. The patient’s respiratory rate is 30 breaths/minute with pronounced accessory muscle use. The blood gas results are as follows:

PH = 7.38

PaCO2 = 43

PaO2 = 59

HCO3 = 24

Based on this information, what should the respiratory therapist recommend?

  1. Humidify the oxygen
  2. Intubation and mechanical ventilation
  3. Add 6 LPM nasal cannula under mask
  4. Recheck ABG in 4 hours


This patient has persistent hypoxemia and evidence of an increased work of breathing. Therefore, the patient requires intubation and mechanical ventilation.