The nature and incidence of complications of peripheral arterial puncture

Anaesthesia. 1979 May;34(5):506-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.1979.tb06332.x.


Follow-up of the sites of 839 peripheral arterial punctures has confirmed the technique as safe and free from major sequelae. Minor complications, mainly bruising and tenderness, occurred at 39% of sites; this incidence is much less than that previously reported following short-term arterial cannulation. At only 2% of sites was there any significant pain or tenderness. There was a small incidence of pulse diminution particularly at the radial site but no case of arterial occlusion. The use of a smaller needle (23 s.w.g.) significantly reduced the overall incidence of complications.

MeSH terms

  • Arteries*
  • Humans
  • Needles
  • Punctures / adverse effects*