Arterial stick


What is an Arterial Stick?

An arterial stick is the process of inserting a needle technically into an artery, most commonly the radial artery, to draw a sample of blood for laboratory tests and/or monitoring of certain parameters, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. This procedure is performed in hospitals, medical clinics, and sometimes in patients’ homes. It is possible for doctors to use this technique to analyze a variety of conditions, including heart failure, kidney and lung function, and even the presence of infectious agents like HIV.

Types of Arterial Stick

The two primary types of arterial stick are: non-invasive and invasive. Non-invasive arterial sticks typically involve the insertion of a needle into the skin with no pain involved. Invasive arterial sticks involve the insertion of a needle directly into an artery, typically in the wrist or arm, and usually require a local anesthetic to minimize pain.

Preparation for an Arterial Stick

  • Before the arterial stick procedure, the doctor will usually explain the process and risks to the patient.

  • The patient’s arm is then disinfected and a tourniquet (a band used to restrict blood flow) is applied to the arm.

  • The doctor will then insert the needle into the desired artery.

Why is an Arterial Stick Performed?

An arterial stick is a diagnostic tool that can provide physicians with valuable information about a patient’s health. Arterial sticks can be used to assess a variety of symptoms and conditions, including:

  • Checking on the amount of oxygen that is circulating through the blood

  • Monitoring glucose levels in order to diagnose and treat diabetes

  • Testing for infections such as HIV or hepatitis

  • Diagnosing and monitoring various kidney and liver conditions

  • Making sure that medications prescribed to regulate the heart rate are working properly

  • Checking on the potential for pulmonary embolism (blood clots developing in the lungs)

When is an Arterial Stick Performed?

An arterial stick is usually performed when a doctor needs to test for certain parameters in the blood. It can be used to diagnose different conditions or to monitor the effectiveness of certain treatments. It is typically performed on an outpatient basis and can be done in the doctor’s office, a hospital, or a medical clinic.

Risks of an Arterial Stick

While arterial sticks are relatively safe, there are some risks involved. The most common risks associated with this procedure include:

  • Bleeding or bruising due to the needle puncture

  • Infection at the site of insertion

  • Injury to a nerve near the injection site

  • Nausea, lightheadedness, or dizziness due to the pain associated with the procedure

  • Fainting or passing out due to the stress of the procedure.

Patients can minimize these risks by being adequately prepared for the procedure and informing their doctor of any medical conditions they may have beforehand.