What is Phlebotomy?
Phlebotomy is the Greek word used as a medical term that refers to venipuncture, venesection and bloodletting. The complex medical terminology refers to a simple medical procedure of incision in the veins to collect blood for therapeutic and diagnostic use. Several superficial veins are considered for phlebotomy.
Usually blood is taken from median cubital vein in the antecubital fossa. The location refers to the front of the elbow joint. Basilic vein and cephalic vein are the next preferences for blood collection if the technician fails to locate median cubital vein. If the patient has severe dehydration problems so the technician fails to operate phlebotomy, other veins in legs, thighs and buttocks are considered.
Where is it performed?
In most medical facilities like hospitals, clinics, health care centers and blood donation organizations, phlebotomy is a regular yet very significant medical practice. However, it is not only limited to these locations. Collecting blood is an important health concern as it gives a complete health picture of a patient.
What is a phlebotomist?
Medical professionals who collect blood samples are designated as Phlebotomists. A high school graduate or college students can work as phlebotomists after proper phlebotomist training and vocational phlebotomy courses. Usually registered nurses, novice doctors practice phlebotomy in hospital facilities. This is a good way to start interacting with patients hence phlebotomy jobs are a popular choice of employment for medical bachelors.
The phlebotomist certification and accreditation come from the board of medical technologist’s or the authorized health bodies. A phlebotomist must have basic knowledge on human anatomy and physiology. He should have comprehensive idea about the entire healthcare system. He should have interpersonal skills to provide necessary counseling before proceeding with these procedures.
Phlebotomy procedure: systematic explanation
The procedure can be done in any medical facility. But taking and maintaining necessary safety precautions are vitally important.
- First the patient is asked to sit and relax on a normal chair. The phlebotomist explains the procedure to the patient.
- The patient is asked to place the hand straight and relaxed on the table. Then, a phlebotomist washes and disinfects the site of puncture that is the skin over the veins.
- A tourniquet is used to obstruct the blood so that the specimen can be collected easily.
- A sterile surgical syringe, is used to collect blood, and the specimen is stored in a sterile collecting tube.
Clinical applications of phlebotomy
- To collect blood as specimen; blood is collected to prepare a complete health profile of the patient. Blood picture allows a pathologist to diagnose the diseases, if any; this helps physicians to evaluate the functions of various organs and also aid surgeons in evaluating the eligibility of a patient for undergoing surgery.
- Phlebotomy is an aided procedure for blood transfusion.
- The procedure is done for treating haemochromatosis, iron toxicity and some other blood-related manifestations.
Safety precautions during phlebotomy:
The technicians take the utmost care to prevent invasions of microorganisms during this procedure. Phlebotomy also requires an expert to take care of the skin rupture, venous damage issues. Maintaining sterility of the instruments is another important safety measures that the specimen collector must follow.
Safety measures after phlebotomy procedure:
The procedure comes with some mild side effects; however the occurrences are still very rare and insignificant. Some patients feel weak after undergoing the procedure whereas some patients develop hypersensitivity reactions. These conditions are self-limiting and always feature mild or no significant systemic effects. Protein rich and iron rich diet is recommended after you donate the blood. At the same time, the patient should drink water, and nutritive liquids to compensate the fluid loss.