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What is Phlebotomy?
Phlebotomy is the act of drawing or removing blood from your body through various procedures such as arterial sampling, capillary sampling, blood culture collection or venepuncture to obtain a sample for analysis and diagnosis.
The two most common methods are capillary sampling and venepuncture.
All blood test ordered will be sent to the respective hospitals, clinics or laboratory for testing.
Capillaries are tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin. By pricking the skin of a finger, heel or other areas, a capillary blood sample can be obtained.
This method is useful for obtaining small amounts of blood or when blood is difficult to obtain such as from infants. It is employed for blood glucose (hypocount) and random cholesterol checks known as Point-of-care Testing (POCT).
It is also a common method for International Normalised Ratio (INR) monitoring for patients who are on Warfarin (a blood thinner).
When a larger sample is needed, blood must be drawn from a vein – usually on the back of a hand or just below the elbow.
Venepuncture is often used to diagnose certain blood disorders like hemochromatosis (too much iron in the blood) or polycythaemia (too much red blood cells).
Others include blood donation, cholesterol screening, obtaining liver and kidney (renal) profiles, and running cancer marker tests.