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Six Very Important Things You Should Know About Phlebotomy

Six Very Important Things You Should Know About Phlebotomy

Phlebotomy plays a key role in patient care. Unfortunately, in the medical industry, more often than not, it is considered just a tool between the patient and the laboratory result. But there are so many things that make the phlebotomy process more than just a tool.

Phlebotomy plays a key role in patient care. Unfortunately, in the medical industry, more often than not, it is considered just a tool between the patient and the laboratory result. But there are so many things that make the phlebotomy process more than just a tool.


Right tube, right way of drawing blood, right time for clot, right spot, right time for centrifugation and rushing the sample back to the laboratory on-time to get results back to the physician – this is phlebotomy, a procedure of utmost importance; one that plays a major role in discovering any discrepancies in a patient’s blood sample.


To understand phlebotomy and its various aspects, let’s take a look at six prominent things you should know about this procedure.

What is the process of Phlebotomy?


Phlebotomy is the procedure of drawing blood; one of the most common invasive procedures in healthcare that has been practiced for centuries. The process is carried out by a qualified phlebotomist and the sample is later studied by a physician. In this procedure, blood is usually taken from a vein on the back of the hand or just below the elbow. However, certain blood tests may require blood from an artery. First of all, the phlebotomist wipes the skin over the area from where the blood is to be drawn, with an antiseptic. Then an elastic band is tied around the arm which acts as a tourniquet, and thereby makes the veins more visible. After selecting the appropriate vein, the phlebotomist inserts a needle into the vein and releases the elastic band. Once the appropriate amount of blood is drawn, the needle is withdrawn from the vein and gauze is firmly placed and held over the infusion site.  


After collecting the required samples, the tube(s) are then labeled and all contaminated materials are disposed of properly to avoid any errors.


For certain tests, a very small amount of blood is needed for analysis, wherein the phlebotomist uses a finger stick. With a lance or small needle, a small cut is made in the surface of the fingertip, and a very small amount of blood is collected in a glass tube.

What is the purpose?


Phlebotomy is a very important process in determining the health status of the patient and hence helpful in giving the correct treatment to the patient. Blood drawn, may also be used for another patient who is in need of a blood transfusion or for research purposes in order to analyze the substances contained within the particular blood sample.


The purposes of phlebotomy may vary depending upon the need of the situation. There are some patients who need phlebotomy on a regular basis. People who experience excess increase of iron in their blood are some of those who need regular phlebotomy. These are the patients with disorders such as hemochromatosis, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.  Also patients who suffer from the polycethemia (the body produces too many red blood cells than required) need to have regular phlebotomy. Patients with pulmonary edema may undergo phlebotomy procedures to decrease their total blood volume.

What to expect after treatment?


Depending upon people, some might feel dizzy or tired after the procedure. In such case, it’s appropriate to drink lots of fluids and take proper rest. The procedure is quite simple but if you are feeling least bit jittery then the best thing to do is to be accompanied by some family member or friend.



Phlebotomy rarely leads to any serious adverse event.  If phlebotomy goes wrong, a person can lose consciousness with tonic-clonic seizures, fainting, anxiety, and pain at the site from where blood is drawn. At times, it also includes bruising at the site of puncture, nerve damage and hematoma.

What are some common errors?


What will a poorly collected blood sample lead to?


Inaccurate and misleading result!


This causes a lot of inconvenience to the patient as they need to undergo the procedure of phlebotomy again.


Haemolysis, contamination and inaccurate labeling are the three major issues resulting from errors in collection.


A phlebotomist must bear in mind each and every step to prevent laboratory error and patient injury. For example, the touch of a finger to verify the location of a vein before insertion of the needle increases the chance that a specimen will be contaminated. In addition to this, jostling and jarring of test tubes in transit can lead to false laboratory results. Clerical errors in completing forms and identifying patients are very common. All of these errors are costly but at the same time they can be prevented by being alert.  

Best Practices in Phlebotomy


Drawing blood from a patient is extremely crucial in establishing a patient’s medical condition. This is the very first step in providing the patient with the best treatment. Therefore, it needs to be done with utmost care, keeping the best practices in mind.    


Best practices in phlebotomy that should be followed to avoid any risks:

  • Planning ahead.
  • Making sure the location is appropriate.
  • Quality control.
  • Availability of appropriate supplies and protective equipment.
  • Availability of the medical response- post-exposure prophylaxis.
  • Avoiding contaminated phlebotomy equipment.
  • Necessary training for the procedure.
  • Patients need to be co-operative.
  • Quality checks for laboratory sampling.


Medical science has witnessed tremendous advancement in the last century. One of the major benefits of phlebotomy is making it possible to prevent a serious illness from progressing.


Blood samples help in detecting severe diseases such as leukemia, kidney disease, cancer and anemia. Moreover, blood tests are carried out to monitor cholesterol levels and blood sugar; and this helps in advising the patients to adopt the best healthy lifestyle.


It is very much apparent that phlebotomy plays a major role in diagnosis, preventive healthcare and treatment of diseases. This procedure cannot be performed in the absence of qualified and trained professionals. There are various reputed programs of phlebotomy training in CT, U.S.A, where you can acquire the necessary skills, knowledge to become a successful phlebotomist. Having the needed experience can build up the confidence of an aspiring phlebotomist and ensure patients that their health is in safe hands.

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