How do you select the proper veins for phlebotomy?


Quick Answer

The proper veins for a phlebotomy are selected by extending the patient's arm, inspecting the forearm and locating a good-sized vein that is straight and clear. The vein should be visible without applying the tourniquet. The phlebotomist should apply the tourniquet approximately four or five finger widths above the venopuncture site, and then re-examine the vein, states NCBI.

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Full Answer

The median cubital vein is situated between muscles, and is normally the easiest to puncture. It is not a good idea to puncture the basilic vein as an artery and a nerve runs underneath it, and puncturing in this region is usually more painful and runs the risk of damaging the artery or nerve. The phlebotomist should take care not to insert the needle where the veins are diverting as this increases the risk of a haematoma, notes NCBI.

Phlebotomists should not take blood from an existing peripheral venous access site in hospitalized patients, as this could give false results. It is possible that contamination, haemolysis and the presence of intravenous fluid and medication can alter the results, explains NCBI.

It is acceptable to draw blood specimens when first introducing an in-dwelling venous device, prior to connecting the cannula to the intravenous fluids, explains NCBI.

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