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PAO2 = (Patm - PH2O) FiO2 - PaCO2/RQ
At sea level, the alveolar PAO2 is: PaO2 = (760 - 47) 0.21 - 40/0.8 = 99.7 mm Hg.
A-a gradient = PAO2 - PaO2
The 3 major variables of the equation are the atmospheric pressure, amount of inspired oxygen, and levels of carbon dioxide. Each has an important clinical significance and can help explain different physiological and pathophysiological states.