Therapeutic phlebotomy is a procedure to remove blood from your own body. The procedure is done to treat certain blood disorders, such as hemochromatosis or polycythemia. It will help decrease high levels of iron or red blood cells. By the way, what are the risks of therapeutic phlebotomy? Let us find out that great information from this text.
Risks and Side Effects of Therapeutic Phlebotomy
Apparently, there are few risks and side effects of Therapeutic Phlebotomy. While you may feel the process uncomfortable, you are going to be good soon afterward. You are able to get sick to your stomach if the sight of blood disturbs you or if you are afraid of needles. Please do not feel bad, this is common. Even, you might have what is called a vasovagal reaction. The physical response from your nervous system could make you feel giddy, break out in a sweat, and cause your heart rate or blood pressure to drop. Or you could even faint. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing can help. Also, you are able to look at something else to distract yourself.
If you feel giddy afterward, you should lie or sit down and then put your head between your knees until you stop feeling lightheaded. Over the next day, you may see redness or bruising where the needle went in. That spot might be a little sore, too. Do not worry, most side effects go away soon afterward. The doctor will tell you to drink plenty of fluids, avoid alcohol, and not to exercise for the next several hours.
Also, you may develop anemia. As we know that Anemia is a low number of red blood cells or a low amount of hemoglobin in your red blood cells. For your information, Hemoglobin is a protein which helps carry oxygen throughout your body. Red blood cells utilize iron for making hemoglobin. Anemia can lead to symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath or a fast heartbeat.
Phlebotomists have to follow the procedure in the guidelines to avoid backflow. Allergy, hyperventilation, Hematoma, air embolism, and thrombosis are other side effects occasionally caused by phlebotomy. Eventually, medical staff have to recognize that sincere communication with the patients who receive phlebotomy is very crucial and efforts to inform them of the possibility of these risks and side effects are becoming increasingly necessary in the medical environment right now.
Instructions after Therapeutic Phlebotomy
Here are some instructions after Therapeutic Phlebotomy:
- You must leave the pressure bandage on your needle site for 3 up to 6 hours after your Therapeutic Phlebotomy procedure.
- You have to avoid activities which can strain your arm used during your Therapeutic Phlebotomy such as heavy lifting for at least one day after your procedure.
You may be giddy after your therapeutic phlebotomy. To prevent this from happening, you are able to do some things below.
- Please drink more liquids than usual for 1 up to 2 days after your procedure. You should drink 8 to 10 glasses each day.
- Please avoid alcohol and drinks with caffeine such as coffee and tea for the rest of the day after your therapeutic phlebotomy.
- You have to avoid strenuous exercise for one day after your Therapeutic Phlebotomy.
- Please do not smoke for one hour after your Therapeutic Phlebotomy procedure.
- Do not take a hot bath for the rest of the day after your procedure.
For those who feel giddy after therapeutic phlebotomy, we suggest you sit down and place your head between your knees. You must also lie down flat and raise your feet and legs slightly.
You may have bleeding, discomfort, swelling, or bruising at your needle site. If so, please follow the guidelines below to assist with these side effects.
To manage bleeding:
You are able to raise your arm. Then, you have to apply pressure with your other hand for at least five minutes. Next, if needed, you have to cover the site with a bandage or put the pressure bandage back on the site.
To manage discomfort:
You have to hold ice or a cool pack over the site for 10 up to 15 minutes. Then, you are able to take it off for 10 to 15 minutes. Just repeat as needed.
To manage swelling:
You are able to raise your arm. Then, you have to apply pressure for 3 to 5 minutes. Afterwards, you have to hold ice or a cold pack over the site for 10 to 15 minutes. The next step is to take it off for 10 to 15 minutes. Just repeat as needed.
To manage bruising:
You are able to hold ice or a cold pack over the site for 10 up to 15 minutes. After that, you are able to take it off for 10 to 15 minutes. Just repeat as needed to help the bruising fade. Keep in mind that bruises can spread around your needle site and take about 5 up to 10 days to go away.
History of Phlebotomy
According to research, humans have been bloodletting for many years. It began with the Egyptians and then spread to the Greeks and Romans before reaching Asia and Europe. This practice was a commonly used treatment for lots of medical conditions such as headache, fever, loss of appetite, and digestion problems.
In fact, it was considered controversial as sometimes doctors drew very large amounts of blood. This was the case with the first president of the United States, George Washington. In the year of 1799, after being outside in snowy weather, George became ill and developed a fever. To treat him, his doctors drained about 40 percent of his blood. George died the next night. Over time, bloodletting was proved to be ineffective. Even in some cases, it was a dangerous treatment.
However, by the end of the 19th century, it was not as common as it once was. Now, phlebotomy in Western culture is used for medical testing and only to treat some specific blood diseases.