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What happens when you go for a blood test?

Blood tests can be carried out for lots of different reasons.

This can include to diagnose a medical condition, check the health of certain organs in your body or screen for some genetic conditions. Find out more about what to expect when you go for a blood test below:

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1. A phlebotomist is the health professional who will take your blood
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With some blood tests, you can’t have anything to eat or drink for 10 hours before. This is called a ‘fasting’ blood test.

For others, you will be able to eat and drink as normal in the run up to the test.

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2. The amount of blood taken will depend on the type of test that your doctor has asked for
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3. The phlebotomist will usually use the vein on the inside of your elbow- called the brachial vein, or one of the veins in your wrist to take the blood sample
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4. A tight band (tourniquet) will be placed around your upper arm to help the vein fill with blood.
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This makes it easier for the phlebotomist to collect the blood sample.

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5. Before the blood sample is taken, the skin over the vein will be cleaned with an antiseptic wipe
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6. You will be offered a freezing spray to help numb the area
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7. A needle attached to a syringe will be inserted into the vein to collect the blood sample
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8. When the right amount of blood has been collected, the needle is removed
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The small hole left by the needle will be pressed with gauze and a small plaster put over the top to stop further bleeding.

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9. The blood is collected in sample bottles and then sent to the local Pathology Department for testing
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how to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.

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