How to Perform a Successful Venipuncture

Venipuncture is usually performed by nurses and phlebotomists.
Venipuncture is usually performed by nurses and phlebotomists. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Venipuncture is the process of puncturing a vein with a needle for the purpose of drawing blood or establishing an intravenous line for medication. Most venipuncture is done on the inner elbow area in the median cubital vein. The procedure is crucial for the prevention and treatment of diseases. Venipuncture is usually accomplished by a cannula, which is a device that allow insertion of a tiny plastic catheter into a vein with a needle. With some practice, venipuncture is quite simple and relatively painless for the patient.

Things You'll Need

  • Anti-bacterial soap
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Latex gloves
  • Tourniquet
  • Cannula
  • Blood collection tube

Wash your hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap and water. Leave the water running while you dry your hands with a paper towel. Use the paper towel to turn off the faucet, taking care not to touch the faucet with your bare hands, and throw the towel away.

Put on a pair of latex gloves. Extend the patient's forearm to expose the inner elbow area, also known at the antecubital. Swab the area with alcohol.

Wrap and tighten the tourniquet around the patient's arm above the elbow. Ask the patient to make a fist with his hand. Tap the antecubital area to find a vein. The best veins are those that are dark blue and raised.

Pierce the vein swiftly at a 45 degree angle with the cannula. Attach a blood collection tube to the rear of the cannula. If blood is draw upon application of the tube, the vein has been properly and successfully punctured.

Remove the needle from the cannula, leaving the catheter in the vein. Remove the tourniquet from the patient's arm. You may now draw blood from the cannula or connect the tubing for insertion of intravenous medicine.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be gentle with your patient, as it allows for a more relaxing environment and thus, a more successful venipuncture.
  • Do not force a needle repeatedly into the skin in an attempt to reach a vein. Wait a few minutes to give the patient a break. Repeatedly piercing the skin will likely stress the patient and worsen the situation.

Related Searches


  • "Phlebotomy: Procedures and Practices"; Lynn B. Hoeltke; 2006
  • "Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests"; Kathleen Deska Pagana and Timothy J. Pagana; 2009
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