An important part of care for people with Duchenne involves monitoring blood gas levels, particularly oxygen and carbon dioxide. I had mine tested recently and I thought it would be useful to talk about the process. Blood is taken from my earlobe from a small cut made on it, and placed in a small machine that analyses the sample. This can be a slightly painful experience and does leave a bit of bruising but nothing serious. The machine analyses the level of Carbon dioxide in the blood. The test also determines the oxygen saturation and pH of the blood.
CO2 can build up in the blood as a result of weakened respiratory action so must be monitored to avoid side effects. These include headaches and drowsiness, but could develop into more serious problems if not treated and kept stable. My CO2 levels are kept a low by my bi-pap machines which I use regularly, more and more so over time. My recent test showed an increase in CO2, so the pressure of my bi-pap machines was increased to compensate and has fortunately come back down since.