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Blood Draw

A blood draw is the process of removing blood samples form an individual for the purpose of testing. The process does not take a long time, but the time it does take depends on how accessible the veins are. If the subject’s veins are small, they may be hard to access, as well as, if the veins are not close to the skin surface, that may present some extraction challenges.

A blood draw is performed by a phlebotomist or other health care professional trained to take blood samples. Doctors who order blood tests for their patients will discourage the patient from eating any food prior to the test, but will allow the patient to drink water. The Doctor may also advise the patient to limit the intake of certain medications.

It is in the best interest of the patient to be well hydrated as the blood will flow more readily when the vein is punctured. A blood draw is usually taken from the median cubital vein that is usually located close to the skins surface and located near the elbow.

How To Draw Blood

The procedure to perform a blood draw is not complicated. The patient will be required to expose the back side of their arm which means rolling up a long shirt sleeve or taking their arm out of the sleeve altogether. The technician will swab the area of puncture with antiseptic. The blood draw specialist will wrap a tourniquet type band around the patients forearm in order to increase blood flow to the area of concern.

Once the vein is filled with blood, by visual observation, the technician will insert a small needle into the vein. A pressurized vial is connected to the needle and will collect the extracted blood. The vials are designed to take a predetermined amount of blood for the predetermined blood test.

After the necessary volume of blood is extracted, and most tests or series of tests require multiple vials to be filled, the tourniquet is removed from the patients arm. The technician will swab the area of the puncture with antiseptic and cover it with a small bandage to keep the puncture clean and from bleeding further.

Blood Draw Procedure

A blood draw is typically performed with a small, fine needle. The initial puncture may be uncomfortable, but the actual blood draw will not be painful. If the technician does not hold the needle still or if the puncture is made an angle, their nay be a little bit of discomfort involved. There are a few risks involved with a blood draw including infection, fainting or feeling light headed, hematoma and excessive bleeding.

When drawing blood is a problem there are few things that can be tried. The needle can be repositioned and the collection vial can be checked to make sure it is pushed completely back into the needle. If the vacuum has been lost, the technician will need to use a new needle. The technician can try loosening the tourniquet. The patient should never be stuck more than twice when taking blood.

Filed in: Phlebotomist, Phlebotomy Job

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