One Stick Is Enough

December 2, 2004

If you miss the artery on your firstattempt to draw blood for arterialblood gas determinations, don’t subjectthe patient to more blind probes.

If you miss the artery on your first attempt to draw blood for arterial blood gas determinations, don’t subject the patient to more blind probes. Instead, leave the needle in place and lightly palpate laterally and medially to it until you locate the artery. Then withdraw the needle until the tip is just below the skin surface and adjust the direction of insertion; you will pierce the artery.

-- John F. Griffiths, MD
   Bruceton Mills, WVa

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