Blood loss due to lab tests: use smaller tubes!
This week you are learning how to draw blood which is an important skill. In patients who require regular blood draws (such as ICU patients) the volumes of blood removed for lab testing can quickly add up. Often, the amount of blood that's drawn is far more than is needed to perform the lab tests. A recent article in Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine reports the use of smaller blood collection tubes (pediatric size) for blood draws from adults. The results in hospitalized and intensive care patients are dramatic: reductions in volume of blood collected were in the 73-74% range. This kind of finding should encourage a review of whether smaller tubes can routinely replace larger collection tubes.