A Phlebotomy is derived from two Greek words – “Phleb” which means a vessel and “otomy” standing for an incision procedure. It is simply a process of removing blood from a vein while administering an intravenous fluid at the same time. The blood is drawn from the patient for medical testing, transfusion purposes, donation, and research and for other medical uses.

The amount of drawn is normally 16 ounces or half a litre and the intravenous fluid that is injected in must be a weak solution of salt and water. Phlebotomists primarily collect blood through the process of venipunctures (Puncturing the vein). When collecting minute amounts of blood, the physician uses finger-sticks for adults and heel sticks for babies for dermal-puncture (puncturing the skin).

You might have seen some ancient pictures of leeches sucking blood from patients – the process of removing from a vessel is believed to date back as far as 1400 AD. Bloodletting was believed to get rid of impurities or return the blood to a balanced level. Today, it is very critical to be able to identify the exact medical condition and prescribe the appropriate remedy for it.

What Is The Purpose of This Procedure?

Therapeutic Phlebotomy is administered to treat polycythemia vera which is a disorder of the bone marrow where the blood make too many red cells. Patients with Hepatitis A and C are also prescribed for this medical therapy. If you have pulmonary edema you can decrease your blood volume by going through this procedure.

Red blood cells pick the oxygen from the lungs and deliver them to the body. If a patient has congenial heart disease not enough oxygen reaches the body and the body tends to increase its production. This may cause a patient to feel dizziness, headaches, or fatigued but a phlebotomy reverses these symptoms.

The Venipuncture Procedure

The process is complex and requires skill and knowledge to perform. Several essential steps are necessary to successfully collect blood. Any physician handling you must:

  1. Identify the patient and assess the physical conditions in terms of health, diet, stress levels and general conditions.
  2. Understand the specimen form so that you get the right amount of blood for the correct testing.
  3. Select a suitable site for the exercise.
  4. Prepare the equipment, the patient and the site for the procedure.
  5. Perform the venipuncture and collect the sample in an appropriate container and label the sample.

Most people do not like their blood to be drawn because of the potential discomfort, its therefore professionalism and interpersonal skills attributes are critical. You can help yourself to undergo a successful Phlebotomy by eating a well balanced diet. Avoid becoming hydrated because this can affect your blood work and drink enough fluids.

Most problems are caused by iron level disorders, so take enough supplements of these minerals every day. If you begin to notice symptoms after the procedure contact your Phlebotomist. It can only be repeated after 48 hours in case the symptom resurfaces and depends on the conditions of the patient.