Comparison of fingertip to arterial blood samples at rest and during exercise

Clin J Sport Med. 2005 Jul;15(4):263-70. doi: 10.1097/01.jsm.0000171287.99174.b7.


Objective: The purpose was to determine whether arterialized fingertip blood-gas samples are comparable to arterial samples at rest and at exercise.

Design: Repeated measures, with subjects serving as their own controls.

Setting: Department of Anesthesia, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, (January to April 2004).

Participants: Fifteen healthy men (age = 25 +/- 4 y; weight = 76.4 +/- 11.4 kg; height = 180.7 +/- 8.0 cm; peak oxygen uptake or VO2peak = 46.0 +/- 9.0 mL . kg . min).

Main outcome measures: Arterial blood gases, metabolites, electrolytes.

Results: Blood sampled simultaneously from the radial artery and warmed fingertip at rest and during 2 levels of exercise (vigorous 181 W or 70% VO2peak; maximal 261 W or 100% VO2peak) on a electronically braked ergometer. Arterial partial pressure of oxygen in blood combining rest and the 2 exercise levels was on average 13.6 +/- 9.0 mm Hg higher than arterialized fingertip samples, with the largest difference occurring at rest (18.8 +/- 6.5 mm Hg; 95% CI = 15.5, 22.1) and the smallest difference occurring at the highest level of exercise (8.3 +/- 9.2 mm Hg; 95% CI = 3.6, 13.0; P < 0.05). The pattern for oxyhemoglobin saturation was the same, showing statistical differences between the sampling sites with the differences reduced at the highest exercise intensity. In contrast, there was no difference in arterial and arterialized partial pressure of carbon dioxide in blood (-1.0 +/- 1.5 mm Hg; 95% CI = -1.4, -0.6), or plasma lactate, glucose, pH, hemoglobin, and electrolytes between both sampling sites at rest or at the 2 exercise levels.

Conclusion: Arterialized fingertip blood samples at rest and during exercise can predict arterial carbon dioxide pressure, and can predict arterial plasma lactate, glucose, pH, hemoglobin, and electrolytes; but not arterial oxyhemoglobin saturation or arterial oxygen pressure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arteries / metabolism*
  • Blood Gas Analysis*
  • Blood Specimen Collection / methods*
  • Exercise*
  • Fingers / blood supply*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quebec
  • Rest*