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Some Potential Complications Associated with Venipuncture

There are several complications that can occur following a venipuncture procedure. Some complications are extremely rare and others can occur very easily if care is not taken to ensure proper collection techniques.

Infections can occur at the site following a venipuncture. Although this type of complication rarely occurs, the risk for infection increases if the following aseptic techniques are not used.

Health Healthcare Nursing

- Do not open adhesive tape of bandages ahead of time or stick them to anything that could be contaminated.

- Do not preload needles onto tube holders.

- Do not touch the site with any nonsterile object after it has been cleaned, before or during needle insertion.

-Inform the patient to keep the bandage on for at least 15 minutes after specimen collection.

Nerve injuries can result from several reasons. Most commonly a nerve injury is associated with poor site or improper vein selection, inserting the needle to quickly or deeply, patient movement when the needle is inserted, excessive lateral redirection of the needle, or blind probing. Any of these potential causes can lead to permanent nerve damage. National guidelines have been created to help reduce the risk of nerve injuries to patients. A phlebotomist is trained to choose an alternate site if an initial venipuncture is unsuccessful.

Another type of complication can occur if blood refluxes into the patient's vein from the collection tube during venipuncture. This type of complication is rare but can occur when the contents of the collection tube are in contact with the needle while the blood is being drawn. A phlebotomist should always make sure that the patient's arm is kept in a downward position and that the collection tube is below the venipunture site and filling from the bottom up.

Vein damage can occur if a venipunture is improperly performed or if several venipunctures are performed in the same area over an extended period of time. This recurrent use of the same site can cause a buildup of scar tissue that makes subsequent venipunctures difficult.