Phlebotomy: An Effective Curative and Preventative Technique

The only way to maintain optimal health is to stay updated on your status by undergoing regular checkups with your primary care provider to help you recognize potential concerns and thus begin immediate treatment to restore your wellness. Clinicians can analyze bodily fluids, including blood, to understand health status. For example, a blood draw may be what you need to confirm underlying issues explaining your symptoms. However, it helps to collaborate with a certified family medicine physician assistant San Antonio who understands optimal phlebotomy techniques to ensure accurate results that promote clinical efficiencies.

The best anatomical sites for drawing blood

Efficiency and patient comfort are the main things clinicians consider when performing phlebotomy. Your primary care provider will evaluate the best anatomical sites for drawing blood before performing the procedure. For example, the veins are the best sites to inject a needle and draw blood from because of their superficial position. Moreover, arteries are thick with many nerves that may make drawing blood from these vascular sites extremely uncomfortable. However, there are cases where arterial blood sampling is efficient. For example, your doctor may puncture these blood vessels when evaluating the presence of arterial blood gases.

The anterior surface of the elbow is the most common location clinicians use when drawing blood. This site harbors the medial cubital fossa, which includes the two primary superficial veins of the arm, including the medial cubital vein. Your doctor may select this anatomical variant when conducting a blood draw because these vascular structures have thick walls that can withstand the pressures of a needle puncture.

The most common indications for a phlebotomy

Clinicians classify clinical scenarios necessitating blood draws into two groups, including:

  •         Diagnostic

Your blood can provide information about an underlying medical condition causing symptoms hindering your quality of life. Your doctor may acquire critical information from your blood after evaluating laboratory values. For example, clinical suspicion may require bilirubin levels analysis to help your doctor realize underlying concerns and determine the appropriate treatment course. Your doctor can also perform a blood draw to recognize underlying cardiovascular pathologies, ensuring you receive early clinical action for improved outcomes. A peripheral blood smear can also help your doctor gain the necessary evidence to ensure an accurate diagnosis, like in anemic presentations. 

  •         Therapeutic

Various clinical presentations may require your doctor to remove red blood cells or serum iron to improve your symptoms. For example, Polycythemia Vera is a condition involving excess red blood cell production. Your doctor may draw blood to perform an analysis to confirm elevated red blood cell mass before performing therapeutic phlebotomy to improve clinical outcomes. Other clinical presentations necessitating a therapeutic blood draw include hemochromatosis (iron overload) and porphyria (heme synthesis disruption).

The contraindications to drawing blood

Side effects of drawing blood will depend on the location of the blood draw and the overall condition causing your symptoms. For example, your doctor should carefully analyze your concern to determine the appropriateness of phlebotomy and thus prevent complications like iron deficiency anemia and fatigue. Contact South Texas Family Medicine and Urgent Care Center to schedule safe and effective blood draw for a detailed diagnosis of your concerns. 

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