How to Perform the Capillary Puncture

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Posted 24 Feb 2010 in Laboratory Procedures

Capillary puncture is one of the three general methods of blood specimen collection. It is called the capillary puncture because blood comes from the capillaries. It is usually the preferred method of collection in infants and in adults when venipuncture is not feasible.

Materials needed

Sterile dry cotton

Sterile wet cotton

Lancet or penlet

Capillary tube of capillette or an appropriate collection vessel


Step 1

Prepare your materials and place it within your reach.

Step 2

Identify your patient properly b y asking his/her name.

Step 3

Select a suitable site, usually the ring finger of the left hand for adults and the big heel or big toe for infants.

Step 4

Sterilize the site of puncture from the center going outwards in a circular manner.

Step 5

With a smooth and deliberate manner, puncture the site.

Step 6

Wipe the first blood and collect your specimen making use of your capillary tubes or other appropriate container.

Step 7

Press the wound for 3-5 minutes and apply sterile dry cotton and a micropore.


* Smile and introduce yourself before asking the name of the patient.

* Give a brief description of the test to be done.

* Children 5 years old and below, most likely would need a restraining blanket or device.

* Older children would understand if you explain why you need to perform the procedure.  You have to make them an active participant by making them understand that you need their cooperation for the success of the blood collection.

* The other pads of the fingers and the earlobes are other alternative capillary puncture sites.  Determine which is best for your patient by examining the site.

* Say thank you after the procedure.


* Do not state his name but let him state it.  The patient may not hear correctly and still say yes or no.  Let him spell it out if you cannot hear clearly, or best if he can write it down; and then patient identification would be done properly.

* Your material should not be near the patient, especially if the patient is a child. Children can pull your material.

* Do not underestimate children, they become stronger when intimidated and afraid.  Restrain them properly.

* Do not puncture sites, which have hematoma or bruises.

* Wipe the first drop of blood, as it contains mainly tissue juices and may yield inaccurate results.

* If the test is bleeding time (BT) or clotting time (CT) then do not wipe the first drop of blood. Refer to the protocol with these two tests.

* All materials should be sterile and dry to prevent infecting the patient and contaminating your blood samples.

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  1. Onyeka Anthony

    Thanks! It helped alot!

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