Therapeutic Phlebotomy

What is a therapeutic phlebotomy?

A therapeutic phlebotomy is very similar to a regular blood donation except that your physician has prescribed it as a form of medical treatment.

Before a phlebotomy is begun, the red cell level in your blood will be checked from a small sample of blood. You will have your pulse and blood pressure checked. The results of these procedures, your general health, and the instructions from your physician will determine if we are to continue with the actual therapeutic phlebotomy.

During a phlebotomy approximately one pint of blood will be taken from a vein in you arm. The actual process takes approximately 30-45 minutes. After the procedure is completed, it will be necessary for you to rest for 15-20 minutes and to drink some juice or water. The entire procedure takes about one hour.

What are the advantages?

Therapeutic phlebotomy is a very safe, simple and inexpensive form of medical treatment. Ask your physician for details on your specific medical condition.

What are the disadvantages?

In general, therapeutic phlebotomy caries the same possible risks as with any blood donation such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, hematoma (bruise from blood leaking under skin at needle puncture site), seizures or local infection.

What should you do and not do after the phlebotomy?

It is suggested that you should:
  1. Eat and drink something before leaving.
  2. Do not leave until released by staff member.
  3. Drink more fluids than usual in next 4 hours.
  4. Do not consume any alcoholic beverages before you have eaten.
  5. Do not smoke for a half-hour.
  6. If there is bleeding from the phlebotomy site, raise arm and apply pressure.
  7. If you feel faint or dizzy, either lie down or sit down with your head between your knees.
  8. If any symptoms persist, contact your physician immediately.
  9. You may resume all normal activities after an hour if you feel well. If you are a construction worker, operate machinery, or work at heights, it may be dangerous to return to work immediately after the procedure.