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Venipuncture is the procedure used to draw a blood sample from a patient or intravenous therapy through intravenous access. The procedure is usually performed by phlebotomists, medical technicians, nurses or laboratory scientist, but sometimes EMT’s, paramedics, dialysis technicians, medical practitioners or other trained medical staff.

Venipunctureis an invasive procedure routinely performed for one of two reasons. One is to procure blood for the purpose of diagnostic testing or to monitor levels of certain blood components. Blood analysis is one of the most used diagnostic tools in healthcare as the data are used to interpret a variety of clinical symptoms and signs.

Blood is typically taken from the vein called the median cubital. That vein lies close to the surface of the skin, in the cubital fossa anterior to the elbow. Micro mini quantities of blood can be collected by fingersticks, but for most blood drawing, venipuncture is the procedure of choice.

Venipuncture Procedure

The procedure for a venipuncture is simple. The area of the puncture is sanitized with antiseptic. The blood drawing specialist will wrap a restricting band type tourniquet around the upper part of the arm to be the subject of venipuncture that will apply the necessary pressure to make the vein fill with blood. The health care provider will slowly and carefully insert the needle into the vein.

The blood will collect in a vial that is airtight and attached to the needle. The vials are designed to draw a predetermined amount of blood for a specific type of blood analysis. After the appropriate amount of blood is taken, the restricting band will be removed from your arm and the puncture treated with an antiseptic and covered with a small gauze bandage to keep the puncture from bleeding and to keep it clean.

Following the blood draw, the needles and caps are disposed in an appropriate sharps container. Needles are never reused, recapped, broken or bent after the one time use. Rubber gloves will be worn by the person taking the blood sample and discarded in an appropriate container following the blood draw.

Preparation For A Venipuncture

The only preparation is to limit certain medications or to avoid food and drink prior to the procedure. Your Doctor will let you know ahead of time what preparation you may have to do. After the procedure you may experience some throbbing for a short time, but that will subside.

Veins vary in size from person to person and a venipuncture is more successful on some people than others. Other risks associated with a venipuncture include infection, hematoma, fainting or feeling light headed and excessive bleeding.

Venipuncture Video

Venipuncture Technique And Tips

When drawing blood is a problem, there are a few troubleshooting hints that can be followed. First try repositioning the needle and if that does not work check the collection tube and make sure it is pushed completely back into the needle.

If the technician thinks the vacuum may be lost, try another needle. If that does not solve the problem, loosen the restricting band. The patient should never be stuck more than twice. If all else fails, call the supervisor.

Filed in: Phlebotomist, Phlebotomy Job

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