Patho Patho #14

Question

How does a client compensate for metabolic acidosis?

Answers

  1. Renal excretion of HCO3.
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because the body would excrete excess HCO3 through the kidneys to compensate for a respiratory alkalosis.

  2. Renal retention of H+.
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because the body would compensate for a respiratory acidosis by retaining HCO3 via the kidneys.

  3. Hypoventilation.
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because the body would compensate for a metabolic alkalosis via hypoventilation as a means to retain CO2 in a state of alkalosis.

  4. Hyperventilation.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because the body will compensate for a metabolic acidosis via hyperventilation in order to “blow off” excess CO2 in a state of acidosis.

Overview

The focus of this question is asking the nurse to determine how the body will compensate for a metabolic acidosis. Common causes of metabolic acidosis include diabetic ketoacidosis and renal failure. When an imbalance is metabolic in origin, the respiratory system must compensate. The lungs will compensate through the exhalation of excess CO2.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Metabolic acidosis occurs when pH is low and HCO3 is low. The body compensates for acid-base imbalances with the system that is not affected. So, if the imbalance is metabolic in origin the respiratory system will compensate. If the imbalance is respiratory in origin, the kidneys will compensate. The lungs will compensate for a metabolic acidosis through hyperventilation, which helps eliminate excess CO2.

Test Taking Tip

When studying compensation for acid-base imbalances, always remember that the body will compensate with the system opposite of the one that is affected by the imbalance.

Video Rationale