NCLEX Review: Nursing Care of Arterial Lines

This NCLEX review video will discuss what an arterial line is used for, common insertion sites, the modified Allen’s test, and how to monitor a patient with an arterial line. We will explain the nurses’ responsibilities including understanding waveforms, zeroing the line, assessing for blood pressure accuracy, and the 5 P’s of the neurovascular assessment. We look at the equipment needed for assisting with an arterial line insertion, drawing blood, and removing the line.

Nursing Care of Arterial Lines

What is an Arterial Line, ART-line, or A-line?

  • A thin catheter inserted into an artery
  • Used to monitor blood pressure directly and accurately
  • Used to obtain samples for arterial blood gas analysis (ABG’s) – convenient when frequent blood samples are needed


Common insertion sites

  • Radial artery – most common
  • Brachial artery
  • Femoral artery


Allen’s test – performed before inserting an arterial line in radial artery – done to determine collateral circulation of the radial & ulnar artery.


Nurse monitoring patient with arterial line…

  • Understand waveforms on the monitor
  • Know how to zero (calibrate) the arterial line
  • Check for blood pressure accuracy
  • Neurovascular assessment of 5 P’s
    • Pain
    • Pulses
    • Pallor
    • Paresthesia
    • Paralysis
  • Know how to draw blood from art line


**Note: Explanations of how to do all these things are in the video**

NCLEX Questions


by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: January 12, 2021