Arterial Blood Gas Test: What is it like?
I'm undergoing several tests to find the reason for my intermittent hypoxia. I have to get an ABG tomorrow. I'm very nervous. Is it as bad as some of the stuff I'm reading online?
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Hi @tiss that must be awful to be so nervous.
I wanted to introduce you to fellow Connect member @jakedduck1 as he has experience with an arterial blood gas and may be able to share his experience.
Back to you @tiss, what does your doctor hope to find out with the ABG?
@tiss, I know it is late. I hope this reaches you before your test tomorrow. 10 years ago, I had arterial blood gas test as part of my evaluation for organ transplant. I don't remember it being as uncomfortable as I had feared or read about. The site was numbed before the procedure. It does not take long at all for the blood draw. I had it done on two different occasions, and each at a different facility. As with any blood draw, a whole lot depends upon the skill of the phlebotomist.
Thank you so much for your reply! I will be ok. I feel better!
I am truly sorry to hear about your ABG. I wish you had not asked that question. But first it’s necessary to inform you my veins roll, now I don’t remember if my artery also rolled or not but they had to adjust the needle a few times. In my experience, and I’ll no doubt get in trouble for saying it but Yes, it HURT LIKE HELL!!! Now that was decades ago and I’d imagine phlebotomy technology and techniques have probably improved since then.
One thing I’d like to share, awhile back I had to have specialized MRI studies of my shoulders and had to have an injection into my shoulder capsule. I thought nothing of it until I saw the needle. It looked like it was a foot long. I got quite nervous at that point but the doc put it in and I didn’t feel a thing. I had both shoulders operated on and had lots of scar tissue. Scar tissue doesn’t have nerve endings so no pain. So if you have a surgery scar ask them to go through the scar if possible.
When you go to your doctor and s/he checks your heart rate and Oxygen is it normal? I would be sure every other test that can be done has already been done before agreeing to an ABG.
I have heard people say it wasn’t bad and that has been in the last few years.
I’m guessing I had an unusually bad experience. Be sure to get someone who has done this many times before. They also have ultrasound machines for locating arteries/veins. They had to use one last time I was in the hospital but they didn’t use it until they tried a half dozen or more times. I would imagine it would be helpful. Never hurts to ask, or insist.
I’ll be with you in spirit, not that it will help,
Obviously since Rosemary didn’t have a bad experience they must have improved the techniques. I’m sure I just had a very bad experience. I sure don’t remember any numbing agents being used. @rosemary, I’m curious when you had your ABG. After Rosemarys experience and the numerous others I’ve talked to I’m much more at ease if I ever need another one.
I hope all went well,
Hopefully I am not too late here. When I had it done it wasn’t bad at all. They first numbed my wrist using something like novocain. That injection did pinch but it wasn’t difficult. I never felt them draw the blood. Good luck.
FYI I had mine 2 1/2 yrs ago roughly.
jake- My experience was painful too. No numbing agent for me. It felt like a huge elastic snapped in my wrist.
Its odd I wonder why they don't offer it all the time. My was done by a respiratory therapist and it was done in a pulmonary lab, maybe that had something to do with it.
@clipper– Mine was done over 20 years ago. Hopefully it is done in a more kinder way now for everyone.
I'm going in a few hours so I'll let you all know. I will asking for a numbing agent if they don't offer it upfront. I am getting several tests done to find out why I have intermittent hypoxia. Thank you to everyone who responded. I hope I don't have a horror story to tell.