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Blood sample

blood sample

Hi has anyone found that it is really hard to have a blood sample taken, I used to be totally fine but recently the nurses have had a real struggle and today it took them 6 attempts and no luck!! i've to go back again on wednesday for another go. Any tips would be welcome please and do you think it's yet another side effect of the medication??


Super Moderator
That's a bugger, nothing worse than a needle going and then feeling like they're digging for oil!

I guess the main thing I would say is to make sure you are well hydrated.

Do you have your blood taken at a pathology lab? Roo has always been difficult to get blood from, must take after me cause I'm not easy either, but pathology staff nearly always get hers first go where others, including doctors, can't.

How is the weather there at present? If it is quite cold sometimes you have to put a persons arm in warm water first to try to bring the veins up.

I don't think it would be a side effect of medication as such, (((shrug))).

Dusty. :)
thanks dusty for the advice i'll try drinking loads before the next try, also it's freeeeezing here at the mo so will wrap up warm, it was just the nurse in the pre-op assessment unit, she said she might be able to use my last blood results from sept but she's going to let me know tomo (hope so) as I now look like a druggie with all the bruise marks!!! I can't understand it as my arms look really veiny and there didn't used to be a problem... oh well hope they can get the anaesthetic drug in next monday!!!!!!!!!


cold.. get lost.. its only down to a degree or so (only going to get worse lol)
I find its a bit hit or miss depending how experienced the person is. apart from keeping warm and hydrated, what about simple arm exercises (guess that helps blood flow and warmth)
Generally I find the phlebotomists or surgical support (the people who take blood samples all day everyday) get me first time, nurses take 2 or 3, doctors no chance! So see if you can get it done by a phlebotomist. Also you might have better luck using a smaller size needle, or an old fashioned syringe type and inject it into the blood tubes rather than using those needles that attach straight to the tube. Good luck! And I know it's hard, but try to relax because being tense tightens the veins!


Super Moderator
Yeah, good point Rebecca about the needle size. Roo has often had hers taken with a butterfly needle.

Dusty. :)
Hi thanks everyone, they tried different needle sizes, not sure about the butterfly one though and the nurse and sister both tried but not a phlebotomist, the doc got it the last time, although said my veins were very tough apparently!! must be all the massaging I do, it didn't used to be a problem thats why I was wondering was it he drugs??
Could just be that over the years your veins have toughened up due to repeated blood tests and stuff, so they're basically trying to pierce scar tissue?

I have a question of my own now, does blood pressure have anything to do with it, only I have a tendency to low blood pressure, would that make it harder? Because some drugs can have altering blood pressure as a side effect.


Super Moderator
This is a butterfly needle:

@ Rebecca. Blood pressure should have no bearing on the ability to obtain blood.

Dusty. :)


Super Moderator
I've had similar problems - the last time I had an IV, the nurse immediately blew a vein and I got a lovely big purple bruise on the inside of my elbow from that. So she then tried to find a vein in my forearm/wrist area - after some digging and a few attempts, she found one, but it really hurt! I also have low blood pressure, but I don't think that's a contributing factor. I am one of those people who is always cold no matter what the temperature is, so I will remember the hints about trying to keep warm, doing arm exercises, and putting my arms under warm water the next time I have to have an IV or give a blood sample.
6 times that sucks. I once had a doctor tell me i was purposely refusing to bleed. I still think that's one of the funniest thing a doctor has ever said to me.
I always need a child size needle, I also use a child size blood pressure cuff. I am very small, but as a rude ct person pointed out. Big people can have small vains and small people can have big vains.
Ooh Cat, that has to be one of the most painful places on your wrist! I had to have a cannula put in the side of my wrist (on the thumb side) because I was dehydrated and they couldn't get it in anywhere else. It was so painful! But even so I wouldn't let them take it out till the full 5 days had passed because I was scared of them putting another in. Good job I did too, because they later decided I needed IV steroids. I still have the scar from that cannula, over 6 months later.

@outlier, refusing to bleed! Never heard anything like it!


Super Moderator
Rebecca: Yep, mine was on my thumb side too! So painful! Fortunately I don't have a scar from mine, although there was an ugly bruise there for awhile. I will definitely stop them in the future if they're aiming the needle towards my wrist, and ask if they couldn't put it elsewhere - even the back of my hand would be better than the wrist!
Do you make sure to rotate it up which hand you use each time? It's important cause scar tissue forms and can make it harder for them to take your blood. It's also important to be well hydrated. Make sure to drink lots of water before you go.
Like I said, they tried most other places before going for the wrist (both backs of hands and left forearm). When they had to change it they put the new one in the crook of my arm. With the result that I couldn't bend or straighten my arm properly. Every time I tried the tape shifted and owie owie owie! So don't let them put one there either!
Dusty that looks similar to the needle they used yesterday, they tried the wrist also (painful!!) but no joy just a lovely bruise now, I think judging by all the replies that I maybe hadn't drunk enough fluids yesterday so will def try that alongside running my hands under hot water... i'll give my veins a good talking too next time also so they don't refuse to bleed!!!!!!


Staff member
New York, USA
I alternate between the insdie of my elbows for my IV site when getting my infusions - I have really good veins there and sometimes take pity on someone who is not as good at getting a line. Last time I had one in my hand, I bruised like a grape and it was uncomfortable.....had a stick in the wrist too by the thumb and YUP - IT HURT!!!!! They hit a nerve too and I had issues with that tingling for weeks after.

Do make sure you are hydrated - I usually try to have something to drink before heading to the Doc when I know I am going to have either blood drawn or for my remi treatment. That helps too. Also the small needle.....


Bourbon Bandito
I have horrific veins, I always have. I had to go for eye surgery when I was a kid. They tried 11 times.
It's gotten worse with the pred. I was in this summer and I had each of the nurses working in the ward each come over and see if they could find a vein to sink the IV in after mine stopped working. They eventually brought in some one from the ICU to do it. But there is one woman in the blood lab that gets it every time on the first go. I had her one time and she said her veins are the same as mine, so she draws her own blood when she needs tests done.
I've been having trouble the last few blood tests I've had. Even had trouble getting a vein for my first Remicade infusion.
There is nothing to suggest. It has happened to me too. It may caused because of two reason either less blood in your body or it is hard to find the veins to collect the blood sample.
You need not worry about that. It happens some time. It actually happens when they do not identify and find out your veins. I will suggest you to have juice before and after the process.