Key Points continued

• Shunt of venous blood past gas exchange surfaces causes arterial hypoxemia that is not improved by oxygen breathing.

• Ventilation-perfusion mismatching is the most common cause of increased alveolar-arterial Po2 differences in health and disease.

• Lung disease affects arterial Pco2 less than Po2 because of differences in blood-O2 and CO2 equilibrium curves and the tight control of arterial Pco2 by ventilatory reflexes.

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