ABG (Arterial Blood Gases)


What is an ABG and what does it do?

An arterial blood gas (ABG) test measures the acidity (pH) and the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood from an artery. This test is used to check how well your lungs are able to move oxygen into the blood and remove carbon dioxide from the blood.

Blood samples are typically taken from the radial artery in the wrist or the brachial artery at the front of the elbow.

Who performs the test?

The test is performed by a licensed Respiratory Therapist.

Where does it take place?

At Jackson Hospital in the Respiratory Department

How long does it take?

About 15 minutes

What you can do to make it a success?

Please be sure to bring your doctor’s orders with you the day of your test. Allow 15 minutes to register.

What to do before your exam?

There is no special preparation needed for this test.

What happens during your exam?

  • The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:
  • Clean the needle site with alcohol. You may be given an injection of local anesthetic to numb that area.
  • Put the needle into the artery. More than one needle stick may be needed.
  • Allow the blood to fill the syringe. Be sure to breathe normally while your blood is being collected.
  • Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
  • Put a bandage over the puncture site and apply firm pressure for 5 to 10 minutes (possibly longer if you take blood-thinning medicine or have bleeding problems).
  • Once the bleeding has stopped, you are free to go.

Your therapist will take your blood sample to the blood gas machine to have it analyzed. Your results will be faxed to your physician.

What to do after your exam?

You may resume normal activity after your study.

Contact Information:

Hospital (main operator): (850) 526-2200
Respiratory Department (850) 718-2545