One of the most intimidating tasks for medical students and junior residents is interpreting arterial blood gases or ABGs on rounds. Whether performed for emergent reasons for rapid patient deterioration or to evaluate a patient’s potential improvement on BiPap or a ventilator, interpretation of ABG’s can cause even the most confident student or junior resident to get sweaty palms along with X-ray and EKG interpretation. Over the years, many facilities (usually ER’s) are using less painful and easier to obtain venous blood gases. With the advent of the smartphone, many developers have created acid-base apps. Previously here on iMedicalApps, we favorably reviewed eBloodGas , but were not fans of the Friendly Base Deficit app. Other ABG apps that I have used on my iPhone for years include ABG eval by Dr Joshua Steinberg, ABG, and Acid Plus. For years, Dr Steinberg’s apps were only available for iOS, but recently several of his new apps, as well as some older apps such as ABG eval, have been released on Android. Over the past 18 months, he has released many apps that I have reviewed here on iMedicalApps including PneumoVaccines, Depo Calendar, OB Wheels, Gout Diagnosis, Health Maintenance Visits , Contraception, and Step-by-Step Febrile Infant. Other useful point of care apps by Dr Steinberg include PreopEval14, PFT Eval, EFM Guide, PE & DVT Dx Tool, and my favorite, Pneumonia Guide.
The Android version of ABG Eval is the same as the iOS version (used in this review) though the graphics are somewhat improved in the Android version. ABG Eval not only helps to interpret acid-base status, but teaches the concepts along the way.
You are the intern on the medical wards taking care of a 65 year old male with a worsening COPD exacerbation. You are concerned the patient may need rescue bi-level (BiPap) or even intubation. You order a STAT ABG and a set of electrolytes. The respiratory therapist hands you the results. You think you know how to interpret the information, but consult ABG Eval to see if it can help you with the interpretation. Let’s take a look at the app in action.
Evidence based medicine
ABG Eval teaches the basics as well as more advanced concepts of acid-base interpretation using reputable sources. The master algorithm the app uses is based on the work of Dr R.J. Haber which was adapted by Dr Erik Rupard and used with permission by Dr Steinberg as the basis for the app. Detailed references and instructions on the use of the app are included.
What providers would benefit from this App?
Students, residents, mid-levels, nurses, internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine physicians or anyone working in critical care medicine.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.
- User interface easy to use for data input and interpretation.
- App teaches acid-base concepts in addition to ABG interpretation.
- Includes differential diagnoses and compares user answers to master algorithm.
- Available for Android.
- No hyperlinks for source materials in references.
- PDF or other graphic of master algorithm not included.
- No specific information on VBG evaluation.
- Android and iOS versions look different; Android more modern interface.
ABG Eval by Dr Joshua Steinberg is likely the best app available on both the iOS and Android app stores for ABG interpretation. The “educational approach” the app uses should be applauded. Instead of just showing an “answer”, the user must give the app information and clinical decision-making which further “powers” the app’s results. Useful acid-base algorithm, expertly executed and finally available for Android.
- Overall Score
- User Interface
Simple to enter data into the UI with detailed explanations, differential diagnoses, etc. App guides you through the interpretation process.
- Multimedia Usage
The app includes an easy to read and follow interface and includes references, but no hyperlinks to the source materials or PDF of the “master” algorithm the app follows.
App is free!
- Real World Applicability
An outstanding app for anyone who performs/interprets ABGs. The app takes a proven ABG interpretation algorithm and combines decision points that teaches acid-base concepts. I open this app every time I obtain an ABG on a ward patient and likely you should too.
- Device Used For Review
iPhone 6S running iOS 10.3.1
- Available for DownloadAndroidiPhoneiPad