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Understanding Needles in Medical Application and Importance of Proper Techniques

Needles have been an essential instrument in the medical field playing a crucial role in various applications, such as blood collection and injections. The type of needle, as well as the technique used, can greatly affect both patient comfort and the accuracy of medical results. In this article, we will discuss the different types of needles, proper usage, and the importance of preventing contamination during blood collection and distribution. Additionally, we’ll provide insights on standardized sequences, enhancing medical professionals’ efficiency and ensuring accurate laboratory results.

Different Types of Needles and Their Application

There are several types of needles used in the medical field, each with its specific application. These include:

  • Straight Needle: This type of needle has a hollow hole, meant for various medical purposes, such as accessing veins for blood collection or injecting medications. The straight needle is usually connected to a syringe of suitable size.
  • Winged “Butterfly” Needle: The winged butterfly needle is a smaller needle that consists of two flexible plastic wings and a short length of tubing. It is often used for blood collection or situations where veins are difficult to access, such as in pediatric or elderly patients. It is typically connected to a syringe or vacuum blood collection tubes.

Proper Techniques for Blood Collection

When collecting blood samples, it’s crucial to employ the right techniques to prevent patient discomfort and reduce the risk of contamination. Some of these techniques include:

  1. Preparation: Prepare the patient’s skin using an antiseptic solution and allow it to dry. This prevents the introduction of bacteria into the vein.
  2. Vein Puncture: The medical professional punctures the vein using an appropriate needle, such as a straight or butterfly needle. The needle should be inserted at a 15-30 degree angle, with the bevel facing upwards. This minimizes the risk of injury to the vein and ensures a smoother insertion.
  3. Blood Collection: Once the vein is punctured, the needle is connected to a translucent plastic holder or a syringe. The vacuum created inside the tube automatically draws the blood from the patient through the needle, filling the tube or syringe.
  4. Completion: After collecting the required volume of blood, the medical professional applies pressure to the puncture site to halt bleeding while gently removing the needle. A sterile dressing is then applied to the puncture site.

Preventing Contamination During Blood Collection and Distribution

Contamination during blood collection and distribution poses significant risks to the accuracy of laboratory results and patient safety. To prevent contamination, medical professionals must adhere to proper techniques, including:

  • Using single-use needles and disposing of them in designated sharps containers.
  • Performing hand hygiene before and after each procedure.
  • Using gloves and sterile equipment during blood collection.
  • Strictly following the guidelines for the standardized order of blood collection tubes.

Standardized Sequence for Blood Collection Tubes

When multiple blood samples are drawn for laboratory testing, a specific sequence of tubes is followed to prevent cross-contamination of additives between tubes. This sequence of tubes is standardized and widely followed internationally. The standard order for blood collection tubes is as follows:

  1. Blood culture tubes.
  2. Blue-top tubes containing sodium citrate (for coagulation tests).
  3. Red-top tubes without additives (serum tests).
  4. Gold-top tubes with a serum separator (serum tests).
  5. Light green-top tubes containing lithium heparin (plasma tests).
  6. Dark green-top tubes containing sodium or lithium heparin (plasma tests).
  7. Lavender-top tubes containing EDTA (plasma tests).
  8. Gray-top tubes containing sodium fluoride or potassium oxalate (glucose tests).


Needles play a crucial role in medical procedures, particularly in blood collection and distribution. Following the proper techniques and standardized sequences is essential to ensure accurate results and maintain patient safety. By understanding the different types of needles and their applications, medical professionals can make better decisions regarding needle selection and ensure optimal outcomes during medical procedures.

For more information on needle safety and medical applications, visit these helpful resources:

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