An audit of the patient's experience of arterial blood gas testing

Br J Nurs. 2004 May 13-26;13(9):529-32. doi: 10.12968/bjon.2004.13.9.12963.


Arterial puncture is the most common method used to obtain a sample for the measurement of arterial blood gases (ABGs) and is essential to guide the prescription of long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) in patients with chronic hypoxic lung disease. However, this procedure is often reported by patients as a painful and unpleasant experience, which to date has not been explored. This audit specifically examines the subjective views of a small group of patients (n = 41) who are receiving LTOT who have experienced repeated ABGs. Results demonstrated that 49% (n = 20) were poorly informed regarding what the procedure involved, almost half the patients 49% (n = 20) recalled pain levels of 5 and above on a visual analogue scale and 66% (n = 27) were totally unaware that the test could make a considerable difference to their treatment. While highlighting the deficits in current practice locally, this audit concludes that the respiratory nurse specialist is in an ideal position to implement changes to improve the patient's experience of chronic disease management.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Blood Gas Analysis* / adverse effects
  • Blood Gas Analysis* / nursing
  • Blood Gas Analysis* / psychology
  • Blood Specimen Collection* / adverse effects
  • Blood Specimen Collection* / nursing
  • Blood Specimen Collection* / psychology
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent / standards
  • Medical Audit
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nurse Clinicians / organization & administration
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Audit
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards
  • Patient Selection
  • Prescriptions
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / psychology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Total Quality Management