This week at fellowshipexam.com we are taking on two of the most feared props in the exam itself – the ECG and the ABG. In particular, the ABG seems to be a source of significant concern for most candidates. The bad news is that even with the advent of the new examination the ABG plays a starring role. In the 2015.1 exam 2 of the thirty questions features were centred on an ABG. That’s just about 7 % of the marks available for a single prop.
"The good news is that with a systematic approach the ABG can be broken down easily..."
The good news is that with a systematic approach the ABG can be broken down easily and those marks collected. Let’s look at question 23, which features a HARD blood gas….
After being presented with this monstrosity we are asked four questions.
All in six minutes! We reiterate our opinion that this question is hard!
Right, so a systematic approach to the ABG is necessary. We teach the Own the ABG approach.
Looking at the Acid-Base balance we can note immediately:
So, working through the ABG systematically we can answer the questions pretty easily.
Our answers and comments are below.
Although some of the questions in this examination stunner are a bit opaque for us, we remain convinced that a systematic approach to props like the ABG puts candidates in the best position to succeed. We've set our course candidates a number of ABGs to practice, and we're planning on discussing the issue in more depth at our FACE-TO-FACE meeting in Melbourne. As always we'll be preaching that a systematic approach and practice are what yield the best chance for success on the big day.
The fellowship faculty
We work as emergency physicians, and teach, blog and write at resus.com.au