First Time User? Enroll now.
Appointments - We are seeing patients. Get full details.
Visitors - As the COVID-19 situation has evolved, our policy is evolving as well. Get full details.
Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Information
Home > Fitness & Health > Health Library > Allen Test
The blood supply to your hand normally comes from two arteries: the radial artery and the ulnar artery. Before drawing blood for an arterial blood gas test, your health professional will make sure that both arteries are open and working correctly. A procedure called the Allen test may be used to find out if the blood flow to your hand is normal.
For the Allen test, the health professional drawing your blood will apply pressure to the arteries in your wrist for several seconds. This will stop the blood flow to your hand, and your hand will become cool and pale. Blood is then allowed to flow through the artery that will not be used to collect the blood sample. This is usually the ulnar artery. It's found on the outer (little finger side) of your wrist. Arterial blood gases are usually taken from the radial artery. It's on the inner (thumb side) of the wrist.
Your hand quickly becomes warm and returns to its normal color. This means that one artery alone will be enough to supply blood to your hand and fingers.
Your hand remains pale and cold. This means that one artery is not enough to supply blood to your hand and fingers. Blood will not be collected from an artery in this hand.
If your hand remains pale and cold, the Allen test will then be performed on your other hand. If your other hand also remains pale, the blood often will be collected from another artery, usually in the groin or elbow crease.
Current as of:
July 6, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineElizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Current as of: July 6, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.