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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Asthma

Question: Blood Gas Test

 Diapason - Sat May 12, 2007 3:24 pm


I have a silly question. I have had severe (but controlled) asthma my whole life (40 years), among other things. My question is, why don't they give a local when doing a blood gas procedure? I've had a lot of tests done (bone marrow etc.), but these tests are extremely painful, no matter how "good" the technician is, or what some may say! I have a high tolerance for pain, but not when it comes to these tests (and I've had many of these done). Why not just give a local as a standard?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sun May 13, 2007 7:35 pm

User avatar Good question. Arterial blood gases are quite painful, as you have discovered. If time permits, a topical anesthetic, such as lidocaine cream, can be applied to numb the skin. One could also use an injectable lidocaine that may help numb the artery a little but I suspect this part will still hurt. Numbing the skin will help some, though. Feel free to request this the next time you need a blood gas.

If your asthma is bad enough to need blood gasses it sounds like you have pretty severe asthma. I would recommend you see a pulmonologist if you are not already.

Best wishes.
 Diapason - Sun May 13, 2007 10:48 pm

Thank you Doc for the information. I have always done the right thing when it comes to controlling my asthma. I follow the new medical research very closely, and believe me, I don’t slack on this. For example, I have recently changed from the “old fashioned” Albuterol inhalers to the Xopenex inhalers, which are fantastic. And the Singulair and Advair are just doing wonders. Also, and I should have done this a long time ago…I purchased a very good nebulizer, and I have the new Xopenex for that as well. I’m a very active guy…I build pipe organs for a living, I play basketball, and I go to the gym and work out hard, and am in pretty good shape. The problem arises because I seem to contract bacterial bronchitis frequently, and as you know, this can be potentially fatal when combined with asthma. Now, with the nebulizer and Xopenex, if and when I have a serious problem, I can at least use the nebulizer to prevent a trip to the ER, and get solumedrol or prednisone the next day.. thus, have duplicated the exact (and all too familiar) trips and procedures in the hospital (without those annoying blood gasses as well). But again, thank you for the info. I really appreciate it. If the situation arises, I will request exactly what you have stated.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Tue May 15, 2007 9:18 pm

User avatar It's good to hear you are taking care of your asthma. You may want to talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for oral steroids to have at home in case your asthma flares up. Getting steroids quickly means the attack will decrease sooner. (Of course, if you end up using the oral steroids you should still probably be evaluated.)

Best wishes.

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