What is this patient’s acid-base status most accurately described as?
A young woman is found comatose, having taken an unknown number of sleeping pills an unknown time before. An arterial blood sample yields the following values: pH 6.90, HCO3- 13 meq/liter and PaCO2 68 mmHg.
Whenever the PCO2 and HCO3 are abnormal in opposite directions, ie, one above normal while the other is reduced, a mixed respiratory and metabolic acid-base disorder exists. When the PCO2 is elevated and the [HCO3-] reduced, respiratory acidosis and metabolic acidosis coexist.