Venipuncture is useful as it is a minimally invasive way to obtain cells and extracellular fluid (plasma) from the body for analysis. Since blood flows throughout the body, acting as a medium for providing oxygen and nutrients, and drawing waste products back to the excretory systems for disposal, the state of the bloodstream affects, or is affected by, many medical conditions. For these reasons, blood tests are the most commonly performed medical tests.
If only a few drops of blood are needed, a fingerstick is performed instead of drawing blood from a vein.
Phlebotomists, laboratory practitioners and nurses are those charged with patient blood extraction. However, in special circumstances, and emergency situations, paramedics and physicians sometimes extract blood. Also, respiratory therapists are trained to extract arterial blood for arterial blood gases
A basic metabolic panel measures sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), magnesium, creatinine, glucose, and sometimes includes calcium. Blood tests focusing on cholesterol levels can determine LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, as well as triglyceride levels.
Some blood tests, such as those that measure glucose, cholesterol, or for determining the existence or lack of STD, require fasting (or no food consumption) eight to twelve hours prior to the drawing of the blood sample.
For the majority of blood tests, blood is usually obtained from the patientâ€™s vein. However, other specialized blood tests, such as the arterial blood gas, require blood extracted from an artery. Blood gas analysis of arterial blood is primarily used to monitor carbon dioxide and oxygen levels related to pulmonary function, but it is also used to measure blood pH and bicarbonate levels for certain metabolic conditions.
While the regular glucose test is taken at a certain point in time, the glucose tolerance test involves repeated testing to determine the rate at which glucose is processed by the body. The CBC is one of the most common blood tests. Itâ€™s often done as part of a routine checkup.
The CBC can help detect blood diseases and disorders, such as anemia, infections, clotting problems, blood cancers, and immune system disorders. This test measures many parts of your blood, as discussed in the following paragraphs
Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Abnormal red blood cell levels might be a sign of anemia, dehydration (too little fluid in the body), bleeding, or another disorder. White blood cells are part of your immune system, which fights infections and diseases. Abnormal white blood cell levels might be a sign of infection, blood cancer, or an immune system disorder.
A CBC measures the overall number of white blood cells in your blood. A test called a CBC with differential can measure the amounts of different types of white blood cells in your blood.
Platelets (PLATE-lets) are blood cell fragments that help your blood clot. They stick together to seal cuts or breaks on blood vessel walls and stop bleeding.
Abnormal platelet levels might be a sign of a bleeding disorder (not enough clotting) or a thrombotic disorder (too much clotting).
Hemoglobin (HEE-muh-glow-bin) is an iron-rich protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Abnormal hemoglobin levels might be a sign of anemia, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia (thal-a-SE-me-ah), or other blood disorders.