An arterial line is a special form of drip that is normally placed into one of the arteries in your arm. It enables your anaesthetist to obtain the best information possible about your blood pressure and breathing. Its use is normally reserved for major operations or patients who are a higher anaesthetic risk. It can be put in when you are awake or asleep. Your anaesthetist will discuss with you the necessity for an arterial line.
The risks of an arterial line are minimal, but include:
- Bleeding and bruising around the site of insertion
- Damage to the artery