The Analytic Phase

The first part of this stage needs to be performed with some urgency to avoid exposing the blood sample to the atmosphere. Log in to the blood gas analyser using your unique ID – this may be your barcode on your ID badge or a specific username that is unique to you.

Barcode or password sharing contravenes data protection, IT security and Point of Care Testing policies – so don’t do it. Any tests undertaken by another staff member using your passcode will be recorded against your name. You will be accountable for these results and any implications for potentially incorrect or erroneous results.

Again, check the analyser status before proceeding. Ensure there are no air bubbles in the sample. Remove the clot catchers and use a magnet to remove the flea, if these were used, and dispose of these in the clinical waste. Present the capillary sample to the correct port on the analyser and press ‘Start’ (this button may differ depending on the manufacturer used).

Once analysis has begun, you can then enter the patient demographics. Use the addressograph on the sample where possible to scan in the patient details.

You must record the amount of oxygen they were breathing when you took the sample, represented as the fractional inspired oxygen (FiO2) level. Sometimes you will need to record their body temperature, which can also affect the results.

Only remove the sample from the port when instructed to do so by the analyser. Ensure the port is closed and dispose of the sample tube in the clinical waste.

Take the hardcopy or electronic result as required. Log out of the analyser before removing gloves and washing your hands. Ensure the analyser is cleaned adequately, as per local protocol.

Top tips:

  • Collect the sample without introducing any air into the sample. If you do have an air bubble in your sample, remove it as soon as possible
  • Gently keep the sample moving between collection and analysis, to ensure the anticoagulation agent mixes properly
  • Analyse the sample within 60 seconds of collection
  • Cap the ends and mix with a flea for up to 15 minutes if the sample is not analysed within 60 seconds.
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