Pain during arterial puncture

Jordi Giner, Pere Casan, José Belda, Mercedes González, Rosa Ma Miralda, Joaquín Sanchis

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86 Citations (Scopus)


Study objective: To quantify the level of pain reported by patients during arterial puncture with or without local anesthesia, and to compare the results with levels reported for venous puncture. Design: Double-blind study of puncture with and without local anesthesia. Setting: Pulmonary function laboratory, department of pneumology. Patients: We studied 270 consecutive patients undergoing arterial puncture divided into two groups. In group A (n=210), we assessed level of pain with and without local anesthesia and with placebo. In group B (n=60), we compared pain of arterial and venous puncture. Interventions: The arterial puncture was performed in the radial artery; venous puncture was in the median basilic vein. Measurements and results: The pain was quantified on a visual analog scale (10 cm). Mean level of pain for all arterial punctures without anesthesia or placebo was slight to moderate (3.01±1.94 cm). Subcutaneous anesthetic infiltration before arterial puncture significantly reduced pain by more than 50%, to 1.50±1.54 cm, a level that was significantly lower than the pain level reported after conventional venous puncture (1.80±1.10 cm). The pain reported by patients who received no anesthesia was not significantly different (p=0.45) from that perceived by those who received subcutaneous infiltration of saline solution (placebo). Conclusions: Arterial puncture with prior infiltration of local anesthetic is the least painful procedure among those studied. Use of local anesthesia is indicated whenever conventional arterial puncture is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1443-1445
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996


  • arterial puncture
  • local anesthesia
  • pain


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