Phlebotomy is the process in which a person’s blood is collected by venipuncture.
The practice, which emerged from a millennia’s old therapeutic treatment, is now a crucial tool in the diagnosis of many medical conditions.
While therapeutic phlebotomy is still used as a treatment for certain medical conditions, blood is most commonly collected to be sent to a laboratory for testing.
Who are Phlebotomists?
Phlebotomists are medical professionals who are trained for the specific purpose of performing blood draws.
While other medical professionals, such as nurses, are also trained to draw blood, a phlebotomist’s main job is collecting and preparing specimen for testing. Phlebotomists are experts at collecting blood and are trained to collect samples through three different methods: Venipuncture (a puncture in the vein), finger pricks, and heel pricks.
History of Phlebotomy
Phlebotomy has been in use by medical practitioners for thousands of years in the form of bloodletting, the surgical removal of a person’s blood for therapeutic purposes. The earliest records of bloodletting date back to the Ancient Egyptians in 1550 B.C., and continued with the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Asians, before being spread through Europe in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Early use of bloodletting was backed by the belief that doing so served to purge illness by removing impure fluids, a belief which continually evolved through cultures and empirical observation. Bloodletting methods also evolved, resulting in generalized methods involving venesection and localized methods involving cupping and leeches. Through the 18th and 19th centuries, bloodletting lost support due to advances in science which allowed for scientific verification of the practice’s benefits.
Today, Therapeutic Phlebotomy continues to be used for the treatment of a few specific blood diseases, usually to remove extra red blood cells or extra iron in the blood. However, the purpose of most blood draws is for testing and diagnosis of medical conditions.
Phlebotomists have a variety of different needles and blood collection tubes that may be used, depending on what information the doctor wants to learn from the blood, and how much blood is needed.
Who are Phlebotomists?
Phlebotomists are medical professionals who are trained for the specific purpose of performing blood draws. While other medical professionals, such as nurses, are also trained to draw blood, a phlebotomist’s main job is collecting and preparing specimen for testing. Phlebotomists are experts at collecting blood and are trained to collect samples through three different methods: Venipuncture (a puncture in the vein), finger pricks, and heel pricks.
What to Expect
When you receive an order from your doctor to have blood drawn, your doctor will also share information with you and the phlebotomist regarding what will be required. Most blood tests do not require any preparation from the patient, however some may require you to fast for a duration ahead of time.
During a blood draw, the patient will be sitting or lying down. The phlebotomist will ask the patient to make a fist with their hand and tie a tourniquet around their upper arm, so the needle is easier to place. When the blood is finished being drawn, the phlebotomist will remove the needle and tourniquet, and bandage the area.
There are few risks involved in phlebotomy. The process is uncomfortable for some, and it is not uncommon for patients to feel sick to their stomach at the sight of blood. This feeling will subside, but if you’re dizzy make sure to let your phlebotomist know. It is common for the area around where the needle was inserted to feel sore, or become red or bruised in the days following, which will go away soon afterwards.
Tips For Your Next Blood Draw
At Inspire Labs@Home, we are passionate about making our patients' lives easier and happier. Here are some helpful tips for your next blood draw from our Inspire team of phlebotomists.
Get a good night’s sleep and drink plenty of water.
Ask your doctor if you need to fast before your blood draw. Some tests require you to stop eating for a predetermined amount of time before your draw.
If you need to take prescribed medications before a blood draw, only take it using water or black coffee with no cream or sugar.
Remember to tell the phlebotomist about any unusual events that have occurred during your prior blood draws, so they can tailor your experience specific to your needs.
Wear short sleeves to make it easier to access your arms.
Make sure to have your insurance card and ID card within reach.
Let your phlebotomist choose the needle for you. Remember they are professionals with years of experience.
Inspire Labs@Home provides patients with the convenience of having their blood drawn from the comfort of their home, at no extra cost.
Our team of experienced phlebotomists are hand-picked and trained to provide the absolute best in terms of knowledge and expertise. The next time you receive a lab order just register on our website, make an appointment, and we will come to you. It’s that simple!
Skip the drive, bypass the waiting room, and avoid risky exposure.
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