What is an arterial blood gas?

An arterial blood gas is a blood sample that is taken from your artery and sent to the laboratory to determine the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your blood. This test is sometimes referred to as an ABG or a blood gas.

How long will it take?

This test takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes.

How do I prepare for this test?

Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time so you can be registered. Always bring your health card to any medical appointment.

If you are on a portable oxygen unit ask your doctor if he/she wishes the blood sample be drawn while you are on or off the oxygen. If your doctor wants you off the oxygen when you have this blood sample drawn, then you will have to be off of it 20 minutes prior to the test. If you are uncomfortable with your portable oxygen being off, you may leave it on and discuss this with the therapist at the time of your appointment. Otherwise there are no special requirements.

How does my doctor get the results?

Approximately 30 minutes after your blood has been sent to the lab we will receive the results. We then fax or call the results to your doctor.

Why did my doctor order this test?

There are many different reasons why we perform this test. A few of them are:

  • pre-op (before surgery) preparation;
  • to determine if your shortness of breath is related to low oxygen levels;
  • to qualify you for home oxygen usage; and/or
  • to monitor changes in your oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.