Arterial Line Complications

Complications of arterial line placement in a study of approximately 2000 patients included vascular insufficiency (4%), bleeding (2.1%) and infection (0.6%) Evidence of ischemia after arterial line placement due to thrombus formation occurs in less than 1%. A normal Allen test does not ensure adequate collateral flow. Some things to keep in mind: 1) The longer a catheter is in place the higher the rate of infection 2) Never advance a wire if resistance is meet, vessel wall dissection can occur 3) Never retract a catheter back over a needle as this can shear the catheter leading to potential embolism

Roberts and Hedges 5th ed, pg 360-362

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