Risks of Phlebotomy

  • Bruising/haematoma: relatively common, particularly after failed or vigorous phlebotomy attempts
  • Infection of the needle site: cellulitis may arise around the insertion site, which in some cases may progress to systemic sepsis
  • Arterial puncture: detected by pulsatile blood flow into the needle chamber and from the end of the needle after the needle is removed. Arterial puncture may be intensely painful and lead to distal limb ischaemia. If this occurs you should remove the needle immediately, remove the tourniquet and apply firm pressure to the site
  • Peripheral nerve injury: this is rare. Remove the needle immediately if the patient develops paraesthesia or numbness near the site.

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