In medicine venipuncture or venepuncture is the process of obtaining intravenous access for the purpose of intravenous therapy or obtaining a sample of venous blood. This procedure will be performed by medical practitioners, some EMTs, paramedics, phlebotomists and other nursing staff.
Blood is most commonly obtained from the median cubital vein, on the anterior forearm (the side within the fold of the elbow). This vein lies close to the surface of the skin, and there is not a large nerve supply.
Minute quantities of blood may be taken by fingersticks sampling and collected from infants by means of a heel stick or from scalp veins with a butterfly needle.
Phlebotomy (incision into a vein) is also the treatment of certain diseases such as hemochromatosis and primary and secondary polycythemia.
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