The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Joel M. Brown, Brett Booker, John Emberger; Christiana Care Health System, Newark, DE

Background: When performing any invasive procedure the clinician must be aware of all the adverse effects it could have on the patient. The ABG sampling procedure is frequently performed by RCPs in order to provide care for acute and chronic pulmonary patients. During and after the procedure the RCP must evaluate the patient for complications. The most noted complications of the procedure are hematoma, infection, and nerve damage*. If a complication is present, the RCPs must document the event, inform the ordering physician and take any appropriate action. In this study we wanted to retrospectively evaluate the prevalence of complications that are documented by RCPs performing the ABG sampling procedure. Methods: Data was collected from 2 facilities: a 241 bed community teaching hospital and a 913 bed level 1 trauma center and teaching hospital. Using electronic respiratory documentation we retrospectively analyzed all documented arterial blood gas (ABG) procedures that were performed by RCPs from July 2008 to April 2010. We evaluated the number of complications documented and the complication type. We also analyzed the percent of complications in reference to the patient’s age. Results: There were a total of 17861 documented ABG procedures observed. There were a total of 31 complications documented (0.17 % documented complication rate) by the RCP’s performing the procedures. Ninety percent of the complications documented were hematomas. One patient complained of having extreme pain at the site and displayed signs of a vagal response (sweating, nausea, and decrease heart rate). There were 2 patients that reportedly had excessive bleeding at the site. Patients in the 61-80 years old age group were more likely to have ABG procedure complications (See table for additional data.) Conclusion: According to our data, complications caused by the ABG sampling procedure are documented infrequently. Hematoma formation is the most common complication noted. Patients in the 61-80 year old range are the mostly likely to have procedure complications. RCPs are very successful at obtaining arterial blood samples with minimal complications. *Robert Kacmarek, Steven Dimas, Craig W. Mack. The essentials of Respiratory Care – Fourth Edition. Elsevier Mosby, 2005. Sponsored Research - None