Blood

Complications of Phlebotomy Procedures

Phlebotomy is a medical procedure of taking the samples of blood from a person for blood banking, medical testing and research. These tests are conducted by a trained professional or phlebotomist. One of the most common phlebotomy procedures is venipuncture, where the blood sample is taken from veins present in the arm.

Another procedure is a fingerstick, which is used for taking smaller sample of blood from the tip of the finger. Both the procedures are incident-free and simple. However, there are certain complications that occur due to these procedures and the following are a few common complications.

Various Complications

Read on to know the common complications of phlebotomy procedures that occur due to improper ways of drawing blood.

  • Hematoma: This complications occurs when the blood that gets pooled is taken from the tissue that is present around the vein. This can look similar to a bruise or it can be raised. It can be painful and this usually occurs when the phlebotomist “misses” a vein while drawing blood. Doing this can completely puncture the vein or partially enter the vein during a venipuncture. This condition is pretty uncomfortable for elderly patients, children, especially for people who take blood-thinner medication or have bleeding disorders. This condition can be prevented by puncturing a surface vein in a correct angle. This condition can be treated by raising the affected area in an elevated position.You can even apply an ice pack in and around the area.
  • Prolonged Tourniquet Application: A phlebotomist uses a tourniquet to locate and enter into the vein to draw blood. However, a phlebotomist should not leave the tourniquet inside the patient for more than two minutes. Leaving it inside the vein for longer period of time can result in causing the condition of hemoconcentration. It can also cause nerve damage and irreversible tissue. This can be avoided by removing the tourniquet if the phlebotomist cannot locate the vein and can try it on another vein. This can usually cause tingling sensation, numbness and painful.
  • Hemolysis: This condition usually occurs to the blood sample collected and this can happen when the blood is handled roughly or collected incorrectly.

These are the complications of phlebotomy procedures. It all depends on how a phlebotomist handles the tubes used for collecting blood samples and how much care he/she takes during the procedure.

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