For example, if [HCQ3-] = 24 mM, then [H2CO3] is only 3.55 pM (3.55 x 10-6 M), and an equivalent amount of OH (its usual concentration in plasma) would swamp the buffer system, causing a dangerous rise in the plasma pH. How, then, can this bicarbonate system function effectively? The bicarbonate buffer system works well because the critical concentration of H2CO3 is maintained relatively constant through equilibrium with dissolved CO2 produced in the tissues and available as a gaseous CO2 reservoir in the lungs.2

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