The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (July 2018)
|Look up phlebotomy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
Phlebotomy is the process of making a puncture in a vein, usually in the arm, with a cannula for the purpose of drawing blood. The procedure itself is known as a venipuncture, which is also used for intravenous therapy. A person who performs a phlebotomy is called a phlebotomist, although most doctors, nurses, and other technicians can also carry out a phlebotomy. In contrast, phlebectomy is the removal of a vein.
Phlebotomies that are carried out in the treatment of some blood disorders are known as therapeutic phlebotomies.
Phlebotomies are carried out by phlebotomists – people trained to draw blood mostly from veins for clinical or medical testing, transfusions, donations, or research. Blood is collected primarily by performing venipunctures, or by using fingersticks or a heel stick in infants for the collection of minute quantities of blood. The duties of a phlebotomist may include interpreting the tests requested, drawing blood into the correct tubes with the proper additives, accurately explaining the procedure to the person and preparing them accordingly, practicing the required forms of asepsis, practicing standard and universal precautions, restoring hemostasis of the puncture site, giving instructions on post-puncture care, affixing tubes with electronically printed labels, and delivering specimens to a laboratory. Some countries, states, or districts require that phlebotomists be licensed or registered.
In Australia, there are a number of courses in phlebotomy offered by educational institutions, but training is typically provided on the job. The minimum primary qualification for phlebotomists in Australia is a Certificate III in Pathology Collection (HLT37215) from an approved educational institution.
In the UK there is no requirement for holding a formal qualification or certification prior to becoming a phlebotomist as training is usually provided on the job. The NHS offers training with formal certification upon completion.
Special state certification in the United States is required only in four states: California, Washington, Nevada, and Louisiana. A phlebotomist can become nationally certified through many different organizations. However, California currently only accepts national certificates from six agencies. These include the American Certification Agency (ACA), American Medical Technologists (AMT), American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), National Center for Competency Testing/Multi-skilled Medical Certification Institute (NCCT/MMCI), National Credentialing Agency (NCA), National Healthcareer Association (NHA), and the National Phlebotomy Certification Examination (NPCE). These and other agencies also certify phlebotomists outside the state of California. To qualify to sit for an examination, candidates must complete a full phlebotomy course and provide documentation of clinical or laboratory experience.
Sample tube types
|Tube cap color or type||Additive||Usage and comments|
|Blood culture bottle||Sodium polyanethol sulfonate (anticoagulant) and growth media for microorganisms||Usually drawn first for minimal risk of contamination. Two bottles are typically collected in one blood draw; one for aerobic organisms and one for anaerobic organisms.|
|Light blue||Sodium citrate (anticoagulant)||Coagulation tests such as prothrombin time (PT) and partial thromboplastin time (PTT) and thrombin time (TT). Tube must be filled 100%.|
|Plain red||No additive||Serum: Total complement activity, cryoglobulins|
|Gold||Clot activator and serum separating gel||Serum-separating tube: Tube inversions promote clotting. Most chemistry, endocrine and serology tests, including hepatitis and HIV.|
|Dark green||Sodium heparin (anticoagulant)||Chromosome testing, HLA typing, ammonia, lactate|
|Mint green||Lithium heparin (anticoagulant)||Plasma. Tube inversions prevent clotting|
|Lavender ("purple")||EDTA (chelator / anticoagulant)||Whole blood: CBC, ESR, Coombs test, platelet antibodies, flow cytometry, blood levels of tacrolimus and cyclosporin|
|Pink||EDTA (chelator / anticoagulant)||Blood typing and cross-matching, direct Coombs test, HIV viral load|
|Royal blue||EDTA (chelator / anticoagulant)||Trace elements, heavy metals, most drug levels, toxicology|
|Tan||EDTA (chelator / anticoagulant)||Lead|
|Yellow||Acid-citrate-dextrose A (anticoagulant)||Tissue typing, DNA studies, HIV cultures|
|Pearl ("white")||Separating gel and (K2)EDTA||PCR for adenovirus, toxoplasma and HHV-6|
Early "phlebotomists" used techniques such as leeches and incision to extract blood from the body. Bloodletting was used as a therapeutic as well as a prophylactic process, thought to remove toxins from the body and to balance the humours. While physicians did perform bloodletting, it was a specialty of barber surgeons, the primary provider of health care to most people in the medieval and early modern eras.
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- "Best practices in phlebotomy". WHO Guidelines on Drawing Blood. World Health Organization. 2010.
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- Yao, Q; Zhang, X; Mu, Y; Liu, Y; An, Y; Zhao, B (2019). "Bloodletting Therapy for Patients with Chronic Urticaria: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis". BioMed Research International. 2019: 8650398. doi:10.1155/2019/8650398. PMC 6500668. PMID 31139656.
- "Certificate III in Pathology Collection". Australian Government. Archived from the original on 14 January 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- "Phlebotomist". NHS Careers. Archived from the original on 29 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-23. Retrieved 2016-03-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Pagana, KD; Pagana, TJ; Pagana, TN (19 September 2014). Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference - E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. xiii. ISBN 978-0-323-22592-2.
- "Chapter 3.4.1: Blood cultures; general detection and interpretation". Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook. Wiley. 6 August 2020. ISBN 978-1-55581-881-4.
- "Specimen requirements/containers". Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, UCI School of Medicine. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
- Castellini MA, Castellini JM, Kirby VL (1992). "Effects of standard anticoagulants and storage procedures on plasma glucose values in seals". J Am Vet Med Assoc. 201 (1): 145–8. PMID 1644639.
- Amitava Dasgupta; Jorge L. Sepulveda (20 July 2019). Accurate Results in the Clinical Laboratory: A Guide to Error Detection and Correction. Elsevier Science. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-12-813777-2.