The variables in this App. are : RQ :Respiratory Quotient (approx 0.8 at normal physiological state) PB : Atmospheric pressure.(760 mm Hg at sea level.) FiO2 : Fraction of Inspired Oxygen. (0.21 at room air.) PAO2 : Alveolar Oxygen tension PaO2 : Arterial oxygen tension
These can be independently changed and the reflection of these changes can be seen in the alveolar – arteriolar gradient and PaO2 / FiO2 ratio.
A-a oxygen gradient : The alveolar arterial (A–a) oxygen gradient is a measure of oxygen transfer across alveolar capillary membrane (“A” denotes alveolar and “a” denotes arterial oxygenation). It is the difference between the alveolar and arterial oxygen tension. A-a oxygen gradient = PAO2 - PaO2. PaO2 is derived from ABG while PAO2 is calculated. PAO2 = (FiO2 x [PB - PH2O]) - (PaCO2 ÷ RQ) [PH2O is the partial pressure of water (47 mm Hg)] & PaCO2 is partial pressure of Carbon di oxide in arterial blood. A-a gradient varies with age and can be estimated from the following equation, assuming the patient is breathing room air. A-a gradient = 2.5 + 0.21 x age in years. A-a gradient increases with higher FiO2.
PaO2/FiO2 ratio : It is a measure of Oxygen transfer across the alveolar capillary membrane. Normal PaO2/FiO2 ratio is 300 to 500 mmHg. Values less than 300 mmHg indicating impaired gas exchange and values less than 200 mmHg indicates severe hypoxemia.
"Alveolar arterial membrane is depicted in this App. as a BLACK LINE (This is purely a conceptual representation of ventilation-perfusion relationship).The thickness of this Black Line is shown to vary depending on the variations in A-a gradient"