In addition to the puncture device, additional equipment is required to perform a safe and successful dermal puncture and to collect an acceptable specimen. This may include any of the items discussed below.
Plastic microcollection devices: Plastic microcollection devices are small plastic tubes designed to collect capillary blood from a dermal puncture wound. Each small collection tube is color-coded in the same manner as blood collection tubes used for venipuncture. The color of the cap of each container tube corresponds to the type of additive inside the tube, most often an anticoagulant. The additive coats the inside of the tube. Examples of microcollection devices are shown below.
Heel warmer: It is best practice to warm the heel of an infant with a warming device known as a heel warmer. The heel warmer, when activated, is designed to warm its contents to a standardized temperature. This temperature will be hot enough to effectively warm the heel and facilitate blood flow to the area without causing heat injury to the patient. It is unacceptable to warm a cloth using a microwave. There may be "hot spots" on the cloth that could potentially burn the patient. Keep in mind, what may feel warm to you, the phlebotomist, may feel hot to your patient!
Plastic or Mylar-wrapped capillary tube: In some facilities blood from a capillary puncture is collected directly into a capillary tube. These tubes are very delicate and must be used with great caution. As soon as the tube is two thirds to three-fourths filled, one end is sealed to prevent blood from leaking out.
Glass microscope slides: In some facilities, the person collecting the capillary specimen may also be required to prepare a blood smear for laboratory examination. A drop of blood is placed directly on a glass slide and spread to create an area for cell examination. If you are required to prepare blood smears, remember that the slide is considered infectious until fixed or stained. It is also important to remember that glass is a sharps hazard. If not used correctly, the glass may cause injury to both the patient and the phlebotomist. Be as cautious with a glass slide containing blood as you are with a contaminated needle. Dispose of glass slides that will not be used for testing in approved sharps containers.
Alcohol and gauze pads: Alcohol is the disinfectant of choice for dermal puncture. The alcohol must be allowed to air dry, which will prevent hemolysis of the specimen and discomfort for the patient. A piece of clean or sterile gauze is used to wipe away the first drop of blood. Gauze is also used to apply pressure to the wound after the specimen collection is complete to stop the wound from bleeding.
Iodine or other approved cleaning agents may be used as an alternative to alcohol.
Bandage: It may be necessary to apply a bandage to the puncture wound on a finger or heel if the site continues to bleed. However, it is NOT recommended to bandage the finger of a child who is 2-years-old or younger since the bandage may become a choking hazard if the child puts that finger in his/her mouth.
Personal protective equipment (PPE): All health care professionals that may come in contact with blood and/or body fluids while performing a laboratory procedure are required to wear intact gloves. It is against safety guidelines to alter gloves in any way that may compromise the integrity of the gloves. Eye protection, such as safety goggles, is recommended if there is the possibility of a splash of blood while collecting a capillary blood specimen. In many facilities, special gowns are required in some patient areas such as special-care nurseries. Always follow the policies of your facility in regard to PPE.