Utilization of Arterial Blood Gas Measurements in a Large Tertiary Care Hospital

Stacy Melanson; Trevor Szymanski; Selwyn Rogers; Petr Jarolim; Gyorgy Frendl; James Rawn; Zara Cooper; Massimo Ferrigno
April 2007
American Journal of Clinical Pathology;Apr2007, Vol. 127 Issue 4, p604
Academic Journal
We describe the patterns of utilization of arterial blood gas (ABG) tests in a large tertiary care hospital. To our knowledge, no hospital-wide analysis of ABG test utilization has been published. We analyzed 491 ABG tests performed during 24 two-hour intervals, representative of different staff shifts throughout the 7-day week. The clinician ordering each ABG test was asked to fill out a utilization survey. The most common reasons for requesting an ABG test were changes in ventilator settings (27.6%), respiratory events (26.4%), and routine (25.7%). Of the results, approximately 79% were expected, and a change in patient management (eg, a change in ventilator settings) occurred in 42% of cases. Many ABG tests were ordered as part of a clinical routine or to monitor parameters that can be assessed clinically or through less invasive testing. Implementation of practice guidelines may prove useful in controlling test utilization and in decreasing costs.


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