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After effects or side effects after ABG

Discussion in 'Ask Dr. Decompression' started by cynsearles@hotmail.com, Oct 17, 2000.

  1. cynsearles@hotmail.com

    cynsearles@hotmail.com Angel Fish

    Hi there its Cyndi again

    I have a question yet another one since my encounter with the Bends. I underwent a test in which they wanted to measure or detect any air in the blood stream. The extracted something from just behind my wrist opposite the forearm where there is a large nerve (so I'm told) however I put some undue pressure on that arm and now (for the last 14 hours) my litlle finger and ring finger have gone numb. I can still move them but my fingertips are numb. Could this be a result of the procedure performed? That for some reason that area is still not fully intact? They were not succesfull on their first attempt and there was no way I was letting them do it again.

  2. BillP

    BillP Senior Member

    Hi Cyndi:

    I'm a bit confused about your question, so forgive me if I don't answer clearly. Arterial blood gas (ABG) tests are most commonly drawn from the radial artery at the wrist. There are two main arteries going to the hand- the radial and the ulnar. (Some people have a small third "median" artery down the middle of the wrist.) The radial artery is the one on the "thumb" side of the wrist and is the one where most people are familiar with having their pulse taken. The ulnar artery is on the little finger ("pinkie") side of the wrist and is deeper and harder to feel a pulse in than the radial artery.

    The major blood flow to the hand in most people is actually thru the ulnar artery. There are exceptions to this rule, and some people have their major blood supply thru the radial artery. Before drawing blood from the radial artery it is common to do a test to see if it is the major artery to the hand. You hold pressure on the radial and ulnar arteries to cut off blood flow and raise the hand to cause it to blanch. Then let go of the pressure on the ulnar artery. If the hand pinks up with pressure still on the radial artery, it is OK to use the radial artery to draw blood. If the hand doesn't pink up, the major blood flow is thru the radial artery in that person and drawing blood from it could (rarely) cause it to clot off shutting off blood flow to the hand.

    Now, about nerves. The nerve that gives you feeling to your pinkie and the little finger side of your index finger is the ulnar nerve. This nerve is your "funny bone" at your elbow and runs along with the ulnar artery down the pinkie side of your wrist to the hand. Injuring this nerve, say from putting pressure on it or hitting your funny bone, would cause your pinkie and ring finger to go numb. Drawing an ABG from the radial artery would not affect this nerve, nor would you likely develop symptoms from an ABG test a month or so later. The radial nerve (which really isn't that close to the radial artery in most folks) gives you feeling primarily on the "thumb" half back of your hand and does not give you feeling in the pinkie or ring finger.


  3. cynsearles@hotmail.com

    cynsearles@hotmail.com Angel Fish

    Thanks for the info wow everyone in here really knows there stuff!
  4. King_Neptune

    King_Neptune Founder

    hehe ...

    "wow everyone in here really knows there stuff!" ...

    I sure hope so, after going to school for a zillion years and becoming a Doctor in their field ... It would scare me to death to goto a Doctor and hear someone say "That Doctor doesn't have a clue what they are doing" ...



  5. cynsearles@hotmail.com

    cynsearles@hotmail.com Angel Fish

    yes maybe that was a typical "blonde moment" but after several disappointments with the Doctors over here and everyone of them looking at me with that same DUH expression you don't know how thrilled I am to get an answer and a straight forward answer at that.
  6. Dr Deco

    Dr Deco Medical Moderator Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Issaquah [20 miles east of Seattle], Washington.
    My thanks to BillP with his medical replies. I really only answer decompression questions and certainly appreciate his help with the medical side of the house.
    Michael Powell "Dr Deco"

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