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Arterial Lines

Set Up & Monitoring

Union Hospital
Emergency Department

Introduction and review of anatomy
Indications for arterial lines
Sites for arterial pressure monitoring
Allens Test
Overview of arterial line set up
Patient monitoring
The arterial waveform
Arterial Line blood draws
Care and maintenance

What is it? A Teflon catheter inserted

into an artery that is connected to a

pressure transducer system.
Advantages-Continual beat to-beat
monitoring of blood pressure, and
continual vascular access for blood
Risks-Hemorrhage, Emboli-Air or
Thrombus, Tissue ischemia, Bacterial
contamination. NOT for use as an
infusion port for ANY medications!

Indications for Arterial Lines

Intra arterial blood pressure monitoring is

indicated for any major medical or surgical

condition that compromises cardiac output,
tissue perfusion, or fluid volume status.
Examples-DKA, Fluid shifts after surgical
bowel resection, respiratory failure.

Sites for Arterial Lines

Radial Artery(most frequently used)
Brachial Artery
Femoral Artery

Allens Test
Used to establish the presence of collateral

arterial blood flow through the PALMAR

ARCH via the ULNAR artery.
Used and documented positive or
negative when considering RADIAL artery
puncture or annulations by physician or RT.

Overview of Arterial Line Set

Equipment needed: Pressure bag, 500cc

bag 0.9% NS, Transducer tubing, #20

angiocath, dressing supplies, dead end
Ensure ALL air removed from system to
include flush bag and stopcocks.
Inflate pressure bag to 300mmhg.
Purpose of pressure bag is to provide a
continuous saline flush at 3-6cc/hr that
will overcome the patients systolic
blood pressure.

Patient Monitoring
Place transducer in holder at mid-

chest/aorta level and secure.

ZERO the system by having transducer
at (phlebostatic axis) right atrium, open
stopcock to atmospheric pressure, Zero
Once zeroed, turn stopcock back to
patient monitoring and replace cap.
A cuff pressure on extremity not used
for Art. Line should be obtained.

Patient Monitoring Contd.

A 5-20 mmHg difference between cuff and

arterial pressure is normal, with the arterial

pressure being the higher of the two.
Arterial pressure should be documented
every 5 minutes until stable.
Obtain a strip of waveform.

The Arterial Waveform

Represents the ejection phase of the left

ventricular systole.
As the aortic valve opens, blood is
ejected and recorded as an increase in
pressure in the arterial system.
Highest point is systolic measurement.
Dicrotic notch represents aortic valve
closure and signifies the start of diastole.
Lowest point is the diastolic

Arterial Waveform


Arterial Line Blood Draws

Remove cap from proximal stopcock and

attach 5cc syringe.

Open stopcock to patient.
Draw 5cc blood for waste.
Attach appropriate size syringe for labs
ordered and draw blood.
Close stopcock and remove syringe.
Flush system and replace sterile dead
end cap.


Care and Maintenance

Assess color, movement, pulse,

temperature, and sensitivity of extremity

where line is in place.
Zero transducer with position changes.
Ensure transducer at phlebostatic axis.