Arterial Blood Gases
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What are Arterial Blood Gases?

This is a blood test to identify levels of certain gases in the blood.

The Arteries
The Arteries
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

This test determines the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide dissolved in the blood, as well as the acid/base status. Oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are indicators of lung function. The acid/base status provides information on how well the lungs and kidneys are functioning. It can also give information as to whether there is a problem in the body, like an infection, that is throwing off the acid/base balance in the body.

If you are undergoing oxygen therapy , this test can help to see if the therapy is effective.

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have an arterial blood gases test, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Injury to the artery

Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the test.

Call Your Doctor

After the test, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Bleeding or severe bruising
  • Weakness, tingling, or numbness of an extremity

In case of emergency, CALL 911.