dizzyblonde

Trouble Having Blood Drawn?

15 posts in this topic

I've been having some labwork done lately, and I've had so much trouble getting my blood drawn and I wondered if others have these issues as well.

First of all, the nurses have a terrible time getting the needle into my vein. They say my vein "squirms" away from them so they end up poking around for quite some time. Then this last time I went, the girl found my vein finally, but she said my blood wouldn't come out! She said it would come for a bit and then it would stop. It took almost 10 minutes to fill 3 little tubes.

Of course I get faint after all this and I mentioned to the girl who drew my blood this last time that I have low blood pressure which makes me get faint (the short story anyway) and she said that's probably why my blood didn't come out. Has anyone else ever heard that or had an experience like that? I know it's common for people to get faint when getting their blood drawn and with POTS plus all the difficulty everyone seems to have with me, I've come to dread it. I need to start going to a lab where I can lay down while I have it drawn because I had to lay on the floor at this one once I got sick.

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I usually don't have a problem. But, the last two draws (in the last two weeks) I have. I have been off my fludrocortisone and I think I am dehydrated. The lady that took my blood yesterday agreed. She didn't even bother using the regular needle when she looked at my veins...she just went and got a butterfly needle which is flexible and a little smaller. My blood also ran slowly for the 6 viles she took yesterday. I am going to talk to doc about going back on the fludrocortisone but we were trying to keep me off so taking the prednisone was not such a problem. The lady yesterday said to try to drink pretty constantly in the hour leading up to the blood test if I continue to have problems and this will help blump up my veins and blood volume for the blood draw.

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Dizzy,

Yes I have the same issues. Before POTS, the nurses at the blood donor clinic loved me because I had these big, full veins for them to access. Now it's the total opposite. I have had the blood stop coming out a few times during blood draws. I also have cut above my ankle while shaving my legs (which would always result in blood running down my foot), but after POTS it didn't bleed at all. The water/salt has helped a little, but it is still very slow to get any blood out.

Having said that though, when I had a breast biospsy last month, the radiologist (who performed the procedure) hit a blood vessel in the process and the blood came streaming out that day!! :wacko: Argh...

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My son had the same problem, the blood started then stopped and wouldn't restart. The girl finally asked her superior to come and draw his blood. They changed arms and then were able to get the blood to come out. We have found his left arm to best his best arm to draw blood from.

Christy

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Katybug is right...Our blood is very thick due to hypovolemia and dehydration, and it is also very hard to find a vein when you are dehydrated. I used to start IV's on children as a nurse years ago, so I know from experience! My blood has been thick for years and I always wondered why...now I know!

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Thanks everyone! All of those explantions make sense. I tend to drink a lot of water anyway, but I'll be sure to down as much as I can stand next time. :)

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just had blood volume testing done today. it took them an HOUR AND A HALF to get good veins.

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Hi all, I have a few more tips I learned over the years drawing blood on really sick patients.

  • Hydration is really important to plump up blood vessels.
  • Ask to have blood drawn in chair that reclines or lay on cart, which will help avoid vasal vagal responses (syncope) and pooling issues. Putting patient in trendelenburg (feet higher than head while laying down) is another option to get blood to upper extremities.
  • A warm compress (or wet towel in microwave for 30 seconds) will help make the veins visable.
  • A blood pressure cuff can be used as a tournequet and pumped up to the pulse pressure (number between top and bottom number of BP) can help overcome BP issues during blood draw.
  • A butterfly needle is easier to manaipulate to find veins, but beware because too small a needle will damage red blood cells.
  • Draw blood into a syringe first, the veins won't "blow" due to the pressure in the vacutainer (blood tube), then transfer blood into blood tube.

Lyn

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I have the same problem. Sometimes someone is really good and they got it, but usually they get a vein and nothing comes out. One even told it felt like I had scare tissue in there-which made me think of my glucose tolerance test where they poked me more time then I could count!

After the poking i now just ask to lay down in the chair. Usually they have to go get someone else to try. Those butterfly needles always worked but I have heard they aren't using those anymore for some reason.

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There is only one guy who can get blood from me without poking me a lot. My veins are so small too- I don't know how he does it. One tip he told me that actually helps with dizziness after getting lots of blood drawn is if you force yourself to cough hard. It let's you get a lot of oxygen quickly and you don't feel as light headed.

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yes, I experienced this when i was on the dehydrated side and it was miserable. I agree with what others said and I would also add to make sure they are taking it out of your dominant arm (right if right handed) usually more blood flows to that arm so they have less of a time missing it. I found this to be helpful for me at least.

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Our blood is very thick due to hypovolemia and dehydration, and it is also very hard to find a vein when you are dehydrated.

Ohhh that makes sense! I participated in some CFS research a few years ago and they drew some blood to run basic labwork and the nurse said she finds that our blood is different, "thick like syrup" she said. I always wondered why.

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Hello everyone.

I believe I am the odd one out. No matter how hydrated or dehydrated I am (judging that by the amount of liquid I take in on a given day), no matter the meds I am on (pre POTS diagnosis or post), my veins have alwayas been excellent. (Might it have something to do with having really skinny arms?! I doubt it). I haven't met one nurse since June of last year when I started getting sick that had any trouble drawing blood - and I've been poked close to 50 times. While in the hospital, the day before my ttt I've had 12 vials of blood drawn from the same vein (one poke) in a matter of minutes even when my supine BP was under 100/60. I feel somewhat lucky in that respect as i HATE needles, and I'm sorry to hear about all your troubles.

Alex

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just had blood volume testing done today. it took them an HOUR AND A HALF to get good veins.

Oh my gosh, how horrible! I'm sorry you had such a miserable experience!

That's interesting, Naomi, what the person said about CFS patient's blood being like that as well.

Thanks everyone for all of the tips. I'll definitely do a lot better next time having read this.

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I've had many experiences with sticks taking 30 min and IVs taking multiple hours, a neonatal specialist, the area being warmed and numbed, ect.

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