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An arterial line is a thin, flexible tube that is placed into an artery. It helps your doctors and nurses check your blood pressure and take blood samples.
It is used in operating rooms and intensive care units (ICUs). You may hear it called an "art-line" or "A-line."
This line is usually placed in the wrist or groin.
An arterial line is used to:
Having a needle put into an artery is more painful than having it put into a vein. That's because the arteries are deeper and are near nerves. If you are awake at the time, your medical team will use medicine to numb the area first. Any mild discomfort usually gets better after the line is in place.
There are a few risks to having an arterial line put in. These risks include infections, bleeding, damage to the artery, and blood clots. ICU teams check the line regularly to help prevent these problems.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Current as of: March 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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