What are technical considerations in the performance of arterial blood gases (ABGs)?

Updated: May 14, 2020
  • Author: Kevin McCarthy, RPFT; Chief Editor: Nader Kamangar, MD, FACP, FCCP, FCCM  more...
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Samples must be mixed with an anticoagulant, preferably heparin (if liquid, dead space volume of syringe and needle should be filled before sampling with 1000 U/mL heparin), to avoid clotting before or during analysis. Samples should be analyzed immediately. Recommendations have been to store samples in ice water if analysis is delayed to reduce the drop in PO2 secondary to the metabolism of blood cells. However, one study demonstrated a significant increase in PO2 of arterial blood gas samples obtained in a plastic syringe and stored in ice water for 30 minutes. [20]

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