arterial blood gas

  1. 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 local first? I don't think I have the guts to have them done without having some sort of numbing.


    p.s. what if I ask for a local and they refuse me? I've actually been refused a local before an IV before (now IV's are not a big deal to me but were at one point.)
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  3. by   JentheRN05
    Alright, just to clarify. ABG's usually don't hurt like hell. They clearly don't feel good. It feels sorta like being hit in the funny bone. Yes I've had one. It feels this way because the Artery they access is very close to a nerve. I don't think you need a local for this, I haven't ever heard of anyone getting a local for this. Don't listen to what others say, because most times they are out to scare you.
  4. by   Anhelo Impedio
    I just had one about two month ago. I was warned it would hurt so I braced. It didn't hurt to the extent that there was any suffering. I'd give it a 1.5. It was over immediately. The real problem was going in blinded to the artery.
  5. by   SouthernLPN2RN
    I'm not sure that a local would help, because it usually just numbs the skin and a little below. I would think that the pain would be like Jen said, more of a nerve related thing.
  6. by   RaggedyAnn697
    I had one done last week, and the talk about it is grossly exaggerated. It didn't hurt any more than a regular blood test.
  7. by   HappyJaxRN
    Quote from RaggedyAnn697
    I had one done last week, and the talk about it is grossly exaggerated. It didn't hurt any more than a regular blood test.
    I had one of those and I guess my arm is set up differently. I couldn't tolerate it at all...then again, I had a bad accident when I was a kid injuring both elbows when I fell. Maybe my nerves in my arms are different, but I nearly fell out when the ABG test was started. They had to go into my AC which was still painful. Regular blood draws are no problem. I have to have those Q 6 months.:hatparty:
  8. by   nurseman99
    i;ve done over 1000 abg sticks....every pt rates them fact remains;who's gonna stick you!try and make sure it is a veteran of abg icu we train our new nurses on vented,sedated pt;s first because in the hands of a poor "sticker" you may hurt alot.
  9. by   CrohnieToo
    There's a lot to be said for ignorance is bliss. I've only had one ABG, it felt no different than a blood draw (which I have to have done every 3 months). Now that I've heard so many say that the ABG is painful I wish I had known to ask the name of that phlebotomist who did my ABG!!! If I ever need another it would be reassurring to be able to have her do it!
  10. by   beauty nurse
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  12. by   canoehead
    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.
  13. by   smilingpantat
    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!!!!!!
  14. by   CrohnieToo
    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.