What is the full form of ABG ?


ABG Arterial Blood Gas is one of the most commonly used tests to check blood acidity and oxygenation levels. The test aims to determine the lungs' functioning and how efficiently they can carry oxygen into the blood and remove carbon dioxide from it. ABG test can be prescribed to any patient on any level, depending on their diagnosis, and it is frequently done in the critically ill patients.

Reason for Arterial Blood Gas

ABG test is done due to the following reasons −

  • Oxygen is necessary for the survival of every cell in our body. Gas exchange is the mechanism through which you breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. However, certain disorders may impact this, resulting in systemic imbalances throughout the system

  • The amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood are carefully measured by an ABG test. Doctors generally use this to assess how well your kidneys and lungs are functioning.

  • This test is most frequently used in hospitals to decide how to treat critically ill patients. It can be used in a pulmonary function lab or clinic, but it doesn't play a big role in primary care.

  • ABG tests may be performed in several circumstances, such as when a person is using oxygen therapy, has a history of lung issues, or is having difficulty breathing.

  • Doctor may also recommend an ABG test: If a person is suffering from asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD), sleep apnea, a heart ailment, renal problems, asthma, cystic fibrosis, or other disorders that interfere with normal breathing and lung function”.

  • A blood gas test is commonly prescribed in combination with other diagnostic procedures, such as a blood glucose test to check the sugar levels and a blood creatinine test to assess kidney function.

Process of Arterial Blood Gas

  • The nurse collects a blood sample for an arterial blood gas test, usually, a full 1ml3 is preferred. An arterial stick can be used to take blood from the wrist, groin, or above the elbow.

  • Sample is typically taken from the radial artery on the wrist. However, the brachial and femoral arteries can be used if necessary. If one is present, the sample can be taken using the patient's pre-existing arterial line.

  • When the blood is collected, it is generally sent to the hospital's central laboratory for evaluation or examined by the respiratory therapist.

  • Although arterial samples are the best for diagnostic purposes, they can create certain difficulties for nurses and other healthcare professionals. The biggest problem is that a frontline practitioner must draw the arterial sample if the patient does not have a working arterial line. Very few hospitals, permit specially trained nurses or phlebotomists to execute this task only after successful training programs. Treatment might be postponed if a practitioner is not available to do the arterial stick.

  • Blood gas test findings can assist your doctor in making diagnoses or evaluating the effectiveness of treatment for different ailments, including lung diseases. It also reveals whether or not your body is working to correct the imbalance.


  • Healthcare workers might apply pressure to the arteries in the wrist for a few seconds prior to the arterial blood gas test. The modified Allen test is the process used to determine whether the blood flow to your hand is normal.

  • If the patient is under oxygen therapy and can breathe without it oxygen may be turned off for 20 minutes so that they can do a "room air" test prior to the gas test

  • During or after the test, one might experience some discomfort for a few minutes. Typically, pulling blood from a vein hurts less than taking it from an artery. Veins are shallower than arteries, and sensitive nerves are close by.

  • While your blood is being drawn, you can also feel faint, dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseated. After the needle is removed, you can gently press on the region for a few minutes to lessen the likelihood of bruising.

  • The local anesthetic that is used to numb the area where the needle is put carries a slight risk of allergic reactions.


ABG testing is easy. The amount of hydrogen ions, carbon dioxide, and oxygen that are present in your blood is all measured by this test. In other words, it enables you to assess the efficiency with which your blood is operating. An ABG (arterial blood gas) test can assist you in determining the root of your symptoms so you can resume living a normal life


Q1. What pH level is considered normal in an arterial blood gas test?

Ans. The amount of hydrogen ions in the blood is indicated by the arterial blood pH. A pH value below 7.0 is referred to as acidic, and one above 7.0 is referred to as basic or alkaline. An increase in blood pH level could indicate that you have more acidic blood with higher levels of carbon dioxide.

Q2. What is a typical ABG, for a person with COPD?

Ans. A person with well-monitored COPD should ideally have a normal ABG result. A significant contributing factor is age. It is believed that a patient with COPD should most likely have a PaO2 of 10.6-11.3 kPa (80-85 mmHg).

Q3. What could affect the outcomes of an ABG test?

Ans. ABG test findings can be altered by anything as simple as vomiting or by significant or life-threatening lung disease. These findings are utilized in the hospital setting to modify a ventilator's settings or to establish whether a patient requires oxygen or respiratory support from a ventilator.

Updated on: 14-Apr-2023


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