An arterial blood gas, or ABG, tutorial covers information on the pre-sampling protocol and the technique for performing the arterial puncture, explains University of Connecticut Health. Arterial blood gas sampling is the first step in determining a patient's acid-base status, so the tutorial may also cover acid-base physiology topics, such as daily acid load, renal acid excretion, pulmonary acid excretion and acid buffering, as well as descriptions of various acid-base abnormalities.Continue Reading
In preparation for taking an ABG sample, the practitioner should review the patient's chart to see if there have been any recent changes that could skew the test results, such as a change in the patient's ventilator settings, explains UConn Health. If there have been, it is advisable to delay taking the sample until about 30 minutes after the implementation of the change. To prepare, the practitioner should also gather all necessary supplies and identify the artery from which to take the sample. Necessary supplies include a blood gas syringe with a cap, a beveled needle, gauze, an ice-filled plastic bag and gloves. The practitioner must also sterilize the skin with an alcohol swab.
The procedure for taking the ABG sample involves gently holding the artery in place with the index and middle fingers while inserting the needle just below the surface of the skin, describes UConn Health. Arterial pressure causes the syringe to begin filling with blood. After removing the needle and applying gauze to the puncture site, the practitioner should tap the syringe to remove any air bubbles, then place the capped syringe in ice.Learn more about Cardiac Health