An arterial stick is the collection of blood from an artery for laboratory testing.
Blood sample – arterial
How the test is performed
Usually blood is drawn from an artery in the wrist. It may also be drawn from an artery on the inside of the elbow, groin, or other site. A heartbeat (
The procedure is as follows:
- The area is cleaned with antiseptic
- A needle is inserted. A small amount of anesthetic may be injected or applied before the needle is inserted.
- Blood flows into a special collecting syringe.
- The needle is removed after enough blood is collected.
- Pressure is applied to the puncture site for 5 – 10 minutes to stop the bleeding. You will be checked during this time to make sure the bleeding stops.
How to prepare for the test
Preparation varies with the specific test performed.
How the test will feel
Puncture of an artery may be more uncomfortable than puncture of a vein. This is because arteries are deeper than veins. Arteries also have thicker walls and have more nerves.
When the needle is inserted, there may be some discomfort or pain. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the test is performed
Blood transports oxygen, food, waste products, and other materials within the body. Blood also helps control body temperature, fluids, and the balance of acids and bases.
Blood is made up of a fluid portion (plasma) and a cellular portion. Plasma contains substances dissolved in the fluid. The cellular portion is made up mainly of red blood cells. But it also includes white blood cells and
Because blood has many functions within the body, tests on the blood or its components may give valuable clues to help health care providers diagnose many medical conditions.
Blood in the arteries (arterial blood) differs from blood in the veins (venous blood) mainly in its content of
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
What abnormal results mean
An arterial stick is done to get blood samples from arteries. Blood samples are mainly taken to measure gases in the arteris. Abnormal results may point to
What the risks are
Veins and arteries vary in size from one person to another. They can also vary from one side of the body to the other. Getting a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Fainting or feeling light-headed
- Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
- Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
There is a slight risk of damage to nearby tissues when the blood is drawn. Blood can be taken from lower-risk sites, and techniques are used to limit tissue damage.
If blood is easier to get from one location or side of your body, let the person who is drawing your blood know before starting the test.