Using Syringes vs. Evacuated Tubes During a Phlebotomy

Phlebotomists must always be mindful of the equipment they use when taking blood. Different tools, such as evacuated tubes or syringes, can be used depending on the patient’s individual characteristics. It is the responsibility of the technician to determine which method is most suitable for the given situation.

Evacuated Tubes for Patients with Stable Veins

An evacuated tube system is a preferred method for collecting blood from individuals with healthy and stable veins; however, this system may not be suitable for those with challenging veins.

Syringes for Patients with Difficult Veins

When it comes to collecting blood from individuals who have difficult veins, a syringe is a great option. This tool allows a phlebotomist to control the speed at which the blood is taken by adjusting the plunger. This can help to reduce the risk of a blown vein, as syringes don’t create a pressure system as evacuated tubes do. This can lead to a more successful and comfortable phlebotomy experience.

The Risk of Blown Vein

A blown vein is a vein that has been punctured beyond the intended wall of the median cubital vein and too deeply in the process. This can cause blood collection in the nearby tissue, called a hematoma, and can also lead to the breakage of red blood cells, known as hemolysis. This can affect the accuracy of important diagnostic tests.

Blown veins happen when a vein is put under too much pressure from a vacuum created by puncturing an evacuated tube. A phlebotomist may not be able to control the rate of blood being drawn, and if the veins are challenging, the vacuum pressure could be too strong and cause the vein to collapse, hemolyze, or form a hematoma.

Syringes for the Elderly and Infants

Syringes are useful tools when dealing with the elderly or pediatric population as they provide more control when withdrawing blood. They are particularly useful when dealing with hard-to-st stabilize veins, as they allow the phlebotomist to stop and start the process as needed. They are also useful when dealing with infants, as the thin veins require blood to be taken in small amounts.

Syringes for Oncology Patients

Syringes are a useful tool for oncology patients during phlebotomy procedures. Using a syringe makes it easier for medical professionals to collect blood from the veins of oncology patients, particularly those who have undergone chemotherapy and whose veins may not be as strong or elastic as they once were. Syringes are especially helpful in these cases as they can be used to draw out blood in smaller increments, which can help to stabilize the veins.

Syringes for Burn Victims

Collecting blood from a burn victim can be difficult due to the presence of scar tissue. The scar tissue can make it hard to locate a vein, and blood flow may be restricted. Using a syringe can help make it easier to collect blood from a burn victim. The adjustable end of the syringe, called the plunger, can be adjusted to increase or decrease the amount of blood being withdrawn, making it easier to collect the sample.


Phlebotomists must use their skills and experience to decide which method of extracting blood is best for a patient. An evacuated tube system is the best way to collect blood for most people. However, a syringe may be the better option for patients with difficult veins. This method is more flexible and allows the phlebotomist to control the procedure, making it easier and less traumatic for the patient.

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