Procedure for ABG Blood Specimen Collection

The collection of an arterial blood gas specimen, like other specimen collections, has a routine that must be followed. These routine procedures help to ensure that each specimen is correctly obtained so that each specimen can be used.

A physician must order an arterial blood gas specimen before the specimen can be collected. There is specific information that needs to be obtained from the patient. The phlebotomist should document the patient's current body temperature, respiratory rate, ventilation status, and fraction of inspired oxygen. The prescribed flow rate in liters per minute must also be documented. The required patient information can vary according to regulatory requirements and institutional policy. Typical ABG requisition information requires the following information:

-Patient's full name

-Medical record or identification number

-Patient age or date of birth

-Room number

-Date and time of test collection

-Fraction of inspired oxygen or flow rate in liters per minute

-Body temperature

-Respiration rate

-Clinical indication for specimen collection

-Blood drawer's initials

-Name of requesting physician

Personal protective equipment should always be worn by the blood drawer when collecting arterial blood specimens because there is always a risk of arterial blood spray from an arterial puncture. The blood drawer should wear a fluid-resistant lab coat, gown or apron; gloves; and face protection.

ABG specimen collection requires specific collection equipment such as a safety needle, special heparinized syringe, a cap or other type of device to plug or cover the syringe after the specimen is collected. This cap helps to maintain the specimen's anaerobic condition. ABG specimens are collected in syringes instead of tubes because evacuated tube pressure can affect test results.