Arterial Cannulae


  • Invasive monitoring of systemic BP in the intensive care or during patient transport.

  • Multiple blood gas sampling and laboratory analysis.

Site and Catheter Choice

  • 1st Choice:  Radial artery

  • 2nd Choice:  Femoral

Site of choice for PiCCO catheter mounting (Pulsiocath 5F  16cm catheter) is generally the femoral artery, although the auxiliary artery may be considered.

PiCCO insertion is contraindicated when the patient is receiving intra Aortic balloon pump therapy.


  • All catheters should be inserted with full sterile technique (gown, sterile gloves, topical antiseptic)

  • The arterial line must be firmly anchored (eg: sutured)

  • The insertion site and all connectors must be visible through the applied dressing

Interpretation of arterial waveforms requires familiarity with normal arterial waveforms as well as trace damping amplification and arterial harmonics.  If you are unsure as to the reliability of a trace / reading, you must seek assistance before removing the arterial cannula.


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Page last reviewed: 13 May 2014