PeRinAtAl PeRfORmAnce GUide
Peripheral Arterial Blood Gas Sampling
Not everyone will be required to perform the skill. However, everyone should study the skill
unit and learn the technique to assist with the procedure.
Study this skill unit, then attend a skill practice and demonstration session.
To master the skills, you will need to demonstrate each of the following steps correctly:
1. Be aware of the risks associated with any arterial puncture.
2. Collect and prepare the appropriate equipment.
3. Locate the radial artery and cleanse the site for puncture.
4. Perform the puncture and obtain an arterial blood sample (using a model, or a baby in need
of an arterial puncture).
5. Apply appropriate pressure to the puncture site for an appropriate length of time.
Note: A video is available at: Dev SP, Hillmer MD, Ferri M. Videos in clinical medicine. Arterial puncture for blood
gas analysis. N Engl J Med. 2011;364:e7.
Deciding to Obtain a Peripheral Blood Gas Sample
1. Obtain a peripheral arterial blood gas
(ABG) sample if the baby needs a blood
gas determination and does not have an
umbilical arterial catheter (UAC) in place.
Use a UAC (Unit 3, Umbilical Catheters, in
this book) whenever possible to obtain fre-
quent blood gas samples.
This may be done
When it is anticipated that a baby will re-
quire supplemental oxygen for only a few
To check a baby’s ventilation and oxygen-
ation status before undertaking an umbili-
cal catheterization procedure
When UAC insertion has been unsuccess-
ful, or it was necessary to remove the
There are several reasons ABG samples
taken from a UAC are preferred to periph-
eral ABG samples.
A sample obtained with a needle may
cause the baby to cry vigorously and,
therefore, give a falsely low Pao2 value
and/or a falsely high or low Paco2 value.
Peripheral ABG samples may be difficult
to obtain.
A peripheral puncture is more stressful
for the baby than is sampling done from
an umbilical catheter.
Certain complications may develop as a
result of a needle puncture.
Venous blood, and not arterial blood, may
be obtained with a peripheral sample.
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