Curious About Phlebotomy? Here’s What You Need to Know.
What to Expect
You won’t have to do anything to prepare for most blood tests. Some require you to fast, or not eat, for 8-12 hours ahead of time. Your doctor should give you instructions before you come in.
To get blood drawn, you’ll sit in a chair or lie down. The person who takes the blood will ask you to make a fist with your hand. Then they’ll tie a band, called a tourniquet, around your upper arm. This makes your veins pop out a little more, which will make it easier to insert the needle in the right place.
If you’re having blood removed as part of a treatment, the amount of time it takes depends on how much blood is needed. Most of the time it takes 2-3 minutes to get enough blood for a test.
When the lab has the amount they need, the nurse or technician will take the needle out of your arm, remove the tourniquet, and bandage the area. They might ask you to gently press down on the gauze spot for a few minutes until the bleeding stops. You might even wear the bandage for a few hours.
Risks and Side Effects
There are few risks. While you may find the process uncomfortable, you should be OK soon afterward.
If you feel dizzy afterward, lie or sit down and put your head between your knees until you stop feeling lightheaded.
Over the next day, you may see redness or bruising where the needle went in. The spot might be a little sore, too. Most side effects go away soon afterward.
History of Phlebotomy
Humans have been bloodletting for thousands of years. It began with the Egyptians and spread to the Greeks and Romans before reaching Asia and Europe.
It was considered controversial because doctors sometimes drew very large amounts of blood. This was the case with George Washington, the first president of the United States. In 1799, after being outside in snowy weather, he became ill and developed a fever. To treat him, his doctors drained about 40% of his blood. He died the next night.
Over time, bloodletting was proved to be an ineffective and, in some cases, dangerous treatment. By the end of the 19th century, it wasn’t as common as it once was.
Today, phlebotomy in Western culture is used for medical testing and to treat only a few specific blood diseases.
Article is shared from WebMD.
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What Phlebotomists Do
Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, research, or blood donations. Some of them explain their work to patients and provide assistance if patients have adverse reactions after their blood is drawn.
Phlebotomists typically do the following:
- Draw blood from patients and blood donors
- Talk with patients and donors to help them feel less nervous about having their blood drawn
- Verify a patient’s or donor’s identity to ensure proper labeling of the blood
- Label the drawn blood for testing or processing
- Enter patient information into a database
- Assemble and maintain medical instruments such as needles, test tubes, and blood vials
- Keep work areas clean and sanitary
Phlebotomists primarily draw blood, which is then used for different kinds of medical laboratory testing. In medical and diagnostic laboratories, patient interaction is sometimes only with the phlebotomist. Because all blood samples look the same, phlebotomists must carefully identify and label the sample they have drawn and enter it into a database. Some phlebotomists draw blood for other purposes, such as at blood drives where people donate blood. In order to avoid causing infection or other complications, phlebotomists must keep their work area and instruments clean and sanitary.
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