Universal precautions

As with starting an IV, the potential for contact with a patient's blood while performing an arterial puncture is high and increases with the inexperience of the operator. Gloves must be worn while doing an arterial puncture and if the risk of blood splatter is high, such as an agitated patient, the operator should consider face and eye protection as well as a gown. In trauma patients the protocol calls for all team members to wear gloves, face and eye protection and gowns. As well, there should no attempt to recap the arterial blood gas syringe once the cap is removed. There is a rubber cube in each of the arterial blood gas kits that should be used to cover the needle tip prior to removing it from the syringe.