arterial blood gas - page 2

by moonbeamsmom

14,953 Unique Views | 15 Comments

Ok, so this is from me, the preop patient, not me, the nursing student. :) I have to get arterial blood gasses drawn next week and I hear they hurt like hell. Do I have to ask for a local first or is it just typical to use a... Read More


  1. 0
    I just recently learned to do ABG's and expected them to be very painful. Most of the time my patients don't even flinch, and definitely they seem to hurt less than an IV stick. I was very surprised.
  2. 0
    Hello, i'm a graduating nursing student here in the philippines, actually nursing is my second course. My first course was Respiratory Therapy, and back then we do ABG's. I remember when i was still a student, we used to practice ABG with our classmate. It stings a little bit, but its bearable. Anyway, it helps when you explain to the patient the procedure, helps calm them.... Nothing beats the feeling when you hit the artery on the first try. ................well happy hitting!!!!!!
  3. 0
    I recently was scripted for an ABG RA post ambulation. I was told this could not be done at the lab, to go to the hospital. Hmmmm.

    No problem, my one and only previous ABG had been no more uncomfortable than a standard blood draw. But what was this RA post ambulation bit? Post ambulation isn't too hard to figure out, after exercise. It took me awhile to figure out that RA was room air. Duh. What the hay. No problem.

    Until I found out that the "stick" had to be done w/in 20 seconds of stopping the 6 minute walk!!! NOW I WAS a bit leery that this ABG wasn't gonna be the piece of cake that first one was. You have any idea how long 20 seconds isn't when someone is going to try to stick needle in that artery at your wrist?

    Fortunately, I had an RT in the PFT unit whom I knew fairly well. He prepped my wrist ahead of time, we took our 6 minute walk (oximeter on the other hand), 28 seconds to find a vein. Sigh.

    Another six minute walk, 27 seconds to get the artery, sats by oximeter had only raised from 84% to 85% and we mutually agreed the scripting pulmonologist could accept this ABG RA post ambulation result or do the draw himself! On someone else not me!

    The stick that hit the vein and the stick that hit the artery were clean sticks, no need to dig or burrow and no discomfort - until - whilst applying pressure to the artery AFTER withdrawing the needle the nerve decided to take offense! It complained VIVIDLY all the way up to my shoulder! I asked if "I" could apply the pressure which he allowed me to do and immediate relief.
  4. 0
    Two things-first,it's OK to numb the area of your stick with some Lidocaine. If your facility will allow Lido for IV starts,they should also OK it for ABG's. Might try EMLA or something similar if it's not a STAT thing.
    Second,the brachial nerve at some point from mid biceps area to just below the ACF will cross over the brachial veins and artery,so the potential for hitting a big nerve also exists.
  5. 0
    I too have had an ABG and I am a baby haha. It did not hurt much at all but the person that performed it however did not tell me to put pressure on the site afterwards and my wrist swelled so after put a little pressure. I agree with everyone its just like any other blood draw
  6. 0
    I'll be honest. I've drawn many many ABG's (15 yrs worth). If you have a strong pulse, and the RT hasn't had too much coffee, it should be like any other blood draw - just a poke. Weak pulses are harder to get (the draw is blind, unlike drawing from the visible vein). Excess coffee makes for shakey hands - therefore shakey needle into artery (ouch).


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