Drawing Blood - page 3

I had a situation where a particular patient had such bad veins that I as well as several other nurses were unable to obtain it. However several days later a nurse working with this patient who had... Read More

  1. by   queenjean
    Adults have poorer circulation than infants and children. With lower extremity sticks the risks for clots and infection is much greater, and if it infiltrates, the complications are more severe due to the circulation issues.

    Think about it--walk down the typical med/surg hallway. The vast majority of the pts are over 60, have multiple health problems, and every one of them has PVD, diabetes, or artherosclerosis (or all three). That's why you can't do a stick in the lower extremities without an order from an MD. In ER, ICU, and in nursery and peds, this rule does not usually apply (though in my hospital, tICU hast to get an order from the MD, too).
  2. by   reidob
    I concur that foot blood draws and IVs should be a very last resort. They are done rather often in our clinic (we deal with a lot of IV drug users who have "burned" their best veins), but I think the use of leg and foot veins is sometimes simple laziness. There are often hand or even less convenient arm veins that are accessible, but because the addict is less likely to use leg veins, we go for the easy stick. I worked ICU for 10 years before coming to this clinic, and we never used leg veins. Personally, I refuse to do so. It is my perception that the risk of clotting or occlusion is simply far too great in those areas. If a patient needs a blood draw that badly, we can do a radial artery stick, and if they need an IV that badly, they probably belong inpatient, where a central or PICC line can be placed. (I obviously disagree with the person who felt that the risk of harm was greater with an arterial stick). I think we are setting our patients up for problems and ourselves up for liability if we use lower extremity veins. In any case, I would never, ever draw from a lower extremity without an explicit order, to cover myself.