1. Note whether the pH is low (acidosis) or high (alkalosis)
2. Decide which value, pCO2 or HCO3 - , is outside the normal range & could be the cause of the problem. If the cause is a change in pCO2, the problem is respiratory. If the cause is HCO3 - the problem is metabolic.
3. Look at the value that doesn't correspond to the observed pH change. If it is inside the normal range, there is no compensation occurring. If it is outside the
normal range, the body is partially compensating for the problem.