The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Dermal Puncture and Capillary Blood Collection. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Oh No...The Blood Has Stopped Flowing

On occasion, blood may stop flowing from the punctured site before the required amount of blood is obtained. When this happens, it is not recommended to squeeze harder. This only serves to cut off the supply of blood to the capillary bed. Additionally, squeezing with too much force, especially on the heel of an infant, may cause injury to the patient.

The phlebotomist should never scrape the skin with the collection device in an attempt to scoop up the blood that is laying on the surface of the finger or heel. This could cause the blood specimen to hemolyze, making the specimen unacceptable for some laboratory tests. Always allow the drop to flow freely into the collection tube.

If a clot has formed, an attempt could be made to dislodge it and re-establish blood flow by wiping the puncture site again with a new alcohol pad, massaging the finger or heel gently, and attempting to recollect the specimen once the alcohol has dried.

If blood is not flowing freely from the initial puncture, it may be necessary to perform a second puncture to obtain enough blood for the testing required. If a second puncture must be performed, do not repuncture the same site.