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In states with direct access, examination and intervention procedures are being performed by physical therapists in all phases of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation.

Given the importance of the cardiopulmonary system to overall health and function, the examination of this system should be an integral component of every patient profile. Thus, every physical therapist should have, at a minimum, the knowledge and skills to be competent in cardiopulmonary care.1

Anatomy and Physiology of Blood

Blood is a circulating tissue composed of several cells called corpuscles (Table 11-1), which constitute about 45% of whole blood. The other 55% is blood plasma, a yellowish fluid that is the blood's liquid medium. The functions of blood cells include:

  • To supply nutrients (eg, oxygen, glucose) and constitutional elements to tissues and to remove waste products (eg, carbon dioxide, lactic acid)—main function.
  • To enable cells (eg, leukocytes, abnormal tumor cells) and different substances (eg, amino acids, lipids, hormones) to be transported between tissues and organs.

Table 11-1. Blood Corpuscles
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  • The term cardiac (Greek kardia (καρδτα) for "heart") means "related to the heart"; eg, cardiology, the study of diseases of the heart.
  • Medical terms related to blood often begin in hemo- or hemato- (haemo- and haemato-) from the Greek word "haima" for "blood"; eg, hematology: the science encompassing the medical study of the blood and blood-producing organs.
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The normal pH of human arterial blood is approximately 7.40 (normal range is 7.35-7.45).

Blood that has a pH below 7.35 is acidic, while blood pH above 7.45 is alkaline.

Blood pH along with paCO2 and HCO3 readings ...

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