Arterial Line Insertion Procedure

An arterial line is a fine plastic tube, called a cannula, which is inserted into the patients’ artery. The cannula is attached to a transducer and infusion line (drip).

There are two main purposes of an arterial line.

Firstly when patients are very sick an arterial line is inserted to provide constant monitoring and recording of the patient’s blood pressure.

Secondly some patients require frequent blood tests and the arterial line provides easy access to a patient’s blood. Thus reducing the number of times a blood vessel will be accessed with a needle and reducing patient pain.

Arterial blood gases (ABG) are important blood tests that assist in monitoring the patient’s oxygen status. An ABG can only be taken from an artery.