Loading icon
Press enter or spacebar to select a desired language.
Health Information Center

Arterial Blood Gases (ABG) Test

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Arterial Blood Gases (ABG) Test


Arterial blood gas is a test to look for gases in the blood.

The Arteries.

nucleus imagehttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=49734973AL00025_ma.jpgAL00025_maNULLjpgCV systemNULL\\filer01a\Intellect\images\AL00025_ma.jpgNULL12NULL2004-04-29280307Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Test

This test measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. It also checks blood acidity (pH). It is often used to see how well the lungs or kidneys are working. It can also check to see if oxygen therapy is helping someone.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Injury to the artery

What to Expect

Problems To Look Out For

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
  • Bleeding or severe bruising
  • Weakness, tingling, or numbness in hands or feet

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

Prior to Test

The technician may press on arteries in the wrist. This is to check blood flow.

Prior to Test

The technician may press on arteries in the wrist. This is to check blood flow.

Description of Test

The site will be swabbed clean. The needle will then be inserted into the artery. Blood will be withdrawn. The needle will be removed.

After Test

Gauze will be held on the site to help stop bleeding. You may also be given a bandage.

How Long Will It Take?

This test takes about 5 to 10 minutes.

Will It Hurt?

There may be slight pain when the needle is inserted.


Based on the test results, your doctor can assess lung and kidney function.





  • Blood gases. Pathology Tests Explained website. Available at: https://pathologytestsexplained.org.au/learning/test-index/blood-gases.
  • Dyspnea—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/dyspnea-approach-to-the-patient.


  • Elizabeth Margaret Prusak, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.