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Phlebotomy Glossary of Terms


Terminology utilized in phlebotomy

ABGArterial Blood Gas
ABO Blood GroupThe major human blood type system which depends on the presence or absence of antigens known as A and B.
absorbTo suck up, as through pores.
acid-citrate-dextrose (ACD)An anticoagulant containing citric acid, sodium citrate and dextrose. This was formerly used primarily as a whole blood preservative, but is currently used for plateletpheresis.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)An epidemic disease caused by an infection of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1, HIV-2), a retrovirus that causes immune system failure and debilitation and is often accompanied by infections such as tuberculosis. AIDS is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids.
acuteOf short duration. Rapid and abbreviated in onset in reference to a disease process.
adsorbto attract and retain other material on the surface.
aerobicHaving molecular oxygen present. In respect to phlebotomy, blood cultures are often drawn for the purpose of determining the presence and identification of aerobic microorganisms.
aerosol canistersEnclosed containers used to hold specimen tubes for centrifugation.
AHFAntihemophilic Factor. See: Factor VIII
AIDSAcquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Airborne PrecautionsOne of a number of newly proposed precautions recommended by the CDC which includes Standard Precautions plus special precautions for patients known or suspected to be infected with microorganisms transmitted by airborne droplet nuclei (small-particle residue {5 m or smaller in size} of evaporated droplets containing microorganisms that remain suspended in the air and that can be dispersed widely by air currents within a room or over a long distance).
albuminMain protein in human blood.
allergenAn antigenic substance capable of producing an immediate-type hypersensitivity (allergy).
anaerobicGrowing, living or occurring in the absence of molecular oxygen; pertaining to an anaerobe. As in phlebotomy, the drawing of blood cultures for the purpose of possible isolation and identification of anaerobic bacteria.
anaphylaxisAn acute, generalized life-threatening allergic or hypersensitive reaction in a previously sensitized person (i.e. a person who has previously been exposed to that particular allergen) who comes into contact with the same allergen again. Reactions that occur almost immediately tend to be the most severe. Anaphylaxis can be caused by any allergen. The most common allergens are medications, insect bites, certain foods, and allergy injections.
anemiaThe condition of having less than the normal number of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood. The oxygen-transporting units are, therefore, insufficient. Patients can feel tired, fatigue easily, appear pale, develop palpitations, and become short of breath. There are many causes of anemia, including: bleeding, abnormal hemoglobin formation (such as in sickle cell anemia), iron, B12 (pernicious anemia), or folate deficiency, rupture of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia), and bone marrow diseases.
anestheticA drug that causes unconsciousness or a loss of general sensation. A local anesthetic causes loss of feeling in a part of the body.
antecubital fossaThat part of the arm opposing the elbow.
anteriorToward the front or in front of. See ventral.
antibodyA molecule that has a specific affinity for and reacts with the antigen that was responsible for it's production or with one which is closely related.
anticoagulantAny substance that prevents blood clotting.
antigenA substance that is capable of producing a specific immune response with a specific antibody.
antihemophilic factorOne of a number of coagulation (clotting) factors. Classic hemophilia (hemophilia A) is due to a congenital deficiency in the amount (or activity) of factor VIII. Factor VIII is also known as antihemophilic factor (AHF) or antihemophilic globulin (AHG). The gene for factor VIII (that for classic hemophilia) is on the X chromosome so females can be silent carriers without symptoms and males can be hemophiliacs.
anti-platelet agentsMedications that, like aspirin, reduce the tendency of platelets in the blood to clump and clot.
antisepticSomething that discourages the growth microorganisms. By contrast, aseptic refers to the absence of microorganisms. Also, see germicide and disinfectant.
apheresisA technique in which blood products are separated from a donor and the desired elements collected and the rest returned to the donor. This has the advantage of specificity and a good harvest; for example a good platelet collection may be obtained from two or three donors in which the conventional method would involve up to ten donors.
arterioleA small branch of an artery that leads to a capillary. Also, see capillary.
arteriovenous fistulaThe surgical joining of an artery and a vein under the skin for the purpose of hemodialysis. Larger arteriovenous shunts can place strain on the heart since arterial blood is diverted back to the venous circulation before it has a chance to deliver nutrients and oxygen to the body tissues. SYN: arteriovenous shunt.
arteryBlood vessel carrying blood away from the heart. Arterial blood is normally full of oxygen. The oxygenated hemoglobin (oxyhemoglobin) makes it look bright red. Arteries are routinely accessed to retrieve arterial blood samples for blood gas measurements (ABG).
asepticThe absence of microorganisms. By contrast, something that just discourages the growth of microorganisms is antiseptic.
aseptic techniqueA method used by microbiologists and clinicians to keep cultures, sterile instruments and media, and people free of microbial contamination.
aspirateAs it relates to blood drawing, the material that is withdrawn with a negative pressure apparatus (syringe).
autohemolysisHemolysis of red blood cells of a person by his own serum.
bacteremiaThe presence of viable bacteria circulating in the bloodstream. Diagnosed with blood cultures.
basal stateAs it pertains to phlebotomy, the basal state is the state of the body early in the morning, approximately 12 hours after the last ingestion of food or other nutrition. This is the base state of the body during which fasting blood work is drawn.
basilic veinLarge vein on the inner side of the biceps. Often chosen for intravenous injections and blood drawing
basophilA granular leukocyte with an irregularly shaped nucleus that is partially constricted into two lobes, and with cytoplasm that contains coarse, bluish-black granules of variable size.
Betadine™A popular tradename iodine-containing topical antiseptic agent; povidone-iodine.
bleeding-timeA test which measures the time it takes for small blood vessels to close off and bleeding to stop. Abnormal results can be seen in those with congenital or acquired platelet function disorders or thrombocytopenia. Some medications, including aspirin will prolong a bleeding time.
blind stickPerforming a venipuncture with no apparently visible or palpable vein. Though this technique is discouraged, it is occasionally necessary requiring a skilled phlebotomist who is experienced and well versed in vascular anatomy.
bloodThe fluid in the body that contains red cells and white cells as well as platelets, proteins, plasma and other elements. It is transported throughout the body by the Circulatory System. Arterial blood is the means by which oxygen and nutrients are transported to tissues, venous blood is the means by which carbon dioxide and metabolic byproducts are transported for excretion. See also: whole blood; peripheral blood; defibrinated blood.
blood-borne pathogensAny disease producing microorganism which is spread through direct contact with contaminated blood. OSHA defines blood-borne pathogens as "pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)."
blood cellThere are three main types of cell in the blood stream. The red cell, which carries oxygen, the white cell, which fights infections and the platelet, which helps prevent bleeding. The correct balance between each cell type must be maintained for the body to remain healthy
blood clotThe conversion of blood from a liquid form to solid through the process of coagulation. A thrombus is a clot which forms inside of a blood vessel. If that clot moves inside the vessel it is referred to as an embolus (embolism).
blood clotting factorAny of a number of different protein factors which, when acting together, can form a blood clot shortly after platelets have broken at the site of the wound. The factors have Roman numeral names, like VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, and XIII. Defects in the genes which code for any of these factors result in genetic diseases like hemophilia, which results from a defect in the gene for factor VIII or IX.
blood countThe determination of the proper number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are present in the patients blood. Also known as complete blood count (CBC).
blood cultureA test which involves the incubation of a blood specimen overnight to determine if bacteria are present. Blood is collected in a special media which enhances the growth of both aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms.
blood filmA sample of blood is applied to a microscope slide and then studied under the microscope. SYN: blood smear
blood groupAn inherited feature on the surface of the red blood cell. A series of related blood groups make up a blood group system such as the ABO system or the Rh system. See also: ABO blood group.
blood lettingThe act or process of letting blood or bleeding, as by opening a vein or artery, or by cupping or leeches; esp. applied to venesection.
blood smearA sample of blood is applied to a microscope slide and then studied under the microscope. SYN: blood film
blood transfer deviceA safety device designed to transfer blood from one container into another. In phlebotomy, these devices are most often used in the transfer of blood from a syringe into a blood culture bottle or evacuated sample tube.
blood vesselAll the vessels lined with endothelium through which blood circulates.
bruiseA bruise or "contusion" is an traumatic injury of the soft tissues which results in breakage of the local capillaries and leakage of red blood cells. In the skin it can be seen as a reddish-purple discoloration which does not blanch when pressed upon. When it fades it becomes green and brown as the body metabolizes the blood cells in the skin. It is best treated with local application of a cold pack immediately after injury. Also see hematoma.
butterflyA small needle with two plastic wings attached which are squeezed together to form a tab that is used to manipulate the needle. A long 6-12" plastic tubing is attached which again offers better manipulation. This assembly is then attached to a syringe or Vacutainer™ holder for the purpose of drawing a blood sample.
cannulaA tube for insertion into a duct or cavity.
capillaryAny one of the minute vessels that connect the arterioles and venules, forming a network in nearly all parts of the body. Their walls act as semipermeable membranes for the interchange of various substances, including fluids, between the blood and tissue fluid
carbamate hemoglobinThe hemoglobin compound bound with carbon dioxide in the red blood cells. The carbon dioxide is transported from body cells, through the venous blood system, to the lungs for exchange with oxygen. (see oxyhemoglobin)
carboxyhemoglobinHemoglobin which has been bound with carbon monoxide, which has an affinity for hemoglobin 200 times greater than oxygen. Carbon monoxide poisoning
catheterA thin, flexible tube. When a catheter is placed in a vein, it provides a pathway for giving drugs, nutrients, fluids, or blood products. Also, blood samples can be withdrawn through the catheter.
CBCComplete Blood Count
central venous catheterSmall, flexible plastic tube inserted into the large vein above the heart, through which drugs and blood products can be given and blood samples withdrawn painlessly. SYN: Hickman catheter
centrifugeA laboratory apparatus that separates mixed samples into homogenous component layers by spinning them at high speed. Different constituents of body fluids can be separated on the basis of their density by artificially increasing gravity in a centrifuge.
cephalic veina large vein of the arm that empties into the axillary vein
chelateCombining with a metallic ion into a ring complex.
chromatinThe more readily stainable portion of the cell nucleus. It is a DNA attached to a protein structure and is the carrier of genes in inheritance.
circulationThe movement of fluid in a regular or circuitous course. Although the noun "circulation" does not necessarily refer to the circulation of the blood, for all practical purposes today it does. Heart failure is an example of a problem with the circulation.
Circulatory SystemThe circulatory system is composed of the heart, arteries, capillaries and veins. It serves to transport blood low in oxygen from the body to the lungs and heart (veins) and oxygenated blood from the lungs and heart throughout the body (arteries).
citratea compound that is an intermediate in the citric acid cycle (Krebs cycle or glycolysis). Citrate chelates (binds) calcium ions, preventing blood clotting and, thus, is an effective anticoagulant.
citrate phosphate dextrose (CPD)an anticoagulant
citrate phosphate dextrose adenine (CPDA-1)an anticoagulant used for the preservation of whole blood and red cells for up to 35 days
Citric Acid CycleA group or series of enzymatic reactions in living aerobic organisms that results in the production of energy. Also known as the tricarboxylic acid cycle and the Krebs cycle.
clotA semisolid mass of blood found inside or outside the body.
coagulateThe process of clot formation. Part of an important host defense mechanism call hemostasis.
coagulation factorsGroup of plasma protein substances (Factor I thru XIII) contained in the plasma, which act together to bring about blood coagulation.
cohortingIn epidemiology, a group of individuals who share common characteristics; for example, patients in isolation may share the same airspace if the infectious agent is the same.
collateral circulationBlood which infuses an area through a secondary or accessory route. Blood which is carried through secondary channels after the primary vessels of that part have been obstructed or removed.
complete blood count (CBC)The number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets (per cubic millimeter) that are present in the patients sample of blood is determined. Also included is the hematocrit (%), hemoglobin concentration (gm%) and the differential. Most common test done on the blood.
Contact PrecautionsThis precaution is for specified patients known or suspected to be infected or colonized with epidemiologically important microorganisms that can be transmitted by direct contact with the patient (hand or skin-to-skin contact that occurs when performing patient-care activities that require touching the patient's dry skin) or indirect contact (touching) with environmental surfaces or patient-care items in the patient's environment.
contagiousInfectious. May be transmitted from person to person.
contaminationThe soiling by inferior material, as by the introduction of organisms into a wound.
contusiona bruise or injury without a break in the skin.
CoumadinTrademark for the preparation of warfarin sodium.
cytoplasmThe liquid portion of a cell including organelles and inclusions suspended in it. It is the site of most chemical activities of the cell.
defibrinated bloodBlood which has been deprived of fibrin.
dialysisThe process of cleansing the blood by passing it through a special machine. Dialysis is necessary when the kidneys are not able to filter the blood. Dialysis allows patients with kidney failure a chance to live productive lives. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Each type of dialysis has advantages and disadvantages. Patients can often choose the type of long term dialysis that best matches their needs.
diaphoreticFormation of profuse perspiration (sweat). A symptom of syncope or vasovagal response
differentialA count made on a stained blood smear of the proportion of the different leukocytes (WBC's) and expressed as a percentage. A differential is a normal part of a complete blood count (CBC).
disinfectantAn agent that disinfects, applied particularly to agents used on inanimate objects.
distalRemote, farther from any point of reference, opposed to proximal
dorsalDenoting a position more toward the back surface than some other object of reference; same as posterior in human anatomy.
ecchymosisThe skin discoloration caused by a bruise (contusion).
edemaThe swelling of soft tissues as a result of excess fluid accumulation. Edema may be localized, due to venous or lymphatic obstruction or to leakage of fluids from the vascular system into the intercellular tissue spaces. It can also be systemic and generalized due to heart or renal disease. Development of collateral circulation will result in a reduction of water accumulation.
EDTAEthylenediaminetetraacetate. A calcium chelating (binding) agent that is used as an anticoagulant for laboratory blood specimens. Also used in treatment of lead poisoning.
efferentCarrying away. An artery is an efferent vessel carrying blood away from the heart.
effluentAn outflow, usually of fluid.
electrolyteA substance that will acquire the capacity to conduct electricity when put into solution. Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and phosphate. Informally called "lytes".
embolusA sudden blockage of a blood vessel by a blood clot or some other obstruction which has been transported through blood vessels and lodged at a site too small for passage. Examples of emboli are a detached blood clot, a clump of bacteria, or other foreign material, such as air. Contrast to thrombus.
EMLA creamAlso "EutecticMixture of Local Anesthetics". A cream mixture of lidocaine and prilocaine, this topical anesthetic is often used locally on children for mildly invasive procedures such as venipunctures and intramuscular injections. The cream is placed on the skin in the area where the procedure is to be performed. After 30-60 minutes, the cream is removed and the procedure completed.
endotheliumThe layer of cells lining the closed internal spaces of the body such as the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels.
engineering controlcontrols (e.g., sharps disposal containers, self-sheathing needles) that isolate or remove the bloodborne pathogens hazard from the workplace.
eosinophilAn eosin (red) staining leukocyte with a nucleus that usually has two lobes connected by a slender thread of chromatin, and cytoplasm containing coarse, round granules that are uniform in size.
epidemiologyThe science concerned with the study of factors influencing the distribution of disease and their causes in a defined population to establish programs to prevent and control their development and spread.
epidermisThe upper or outer layer of the two main layers of cells that make up the skin.
epitheliumThe outside layer of cells that covers all the free, open surfaces of the body including the skin, and mucous membranes that communicate with the outside of the body.
erythrocyteCells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
etiologyThe cause or origin of a disease or disorder.
Factor VIIIOne of a number of coagulation (clotting) factors. Classic hemophilia (hemophilia A) is due to a congenital deficiency in the amount (or activity) of factor VIII. Factor VIII is also known as antihemophilic factor (AHF) or antihemophilic globulin (AHG). The gene for factor VIII (that for classic hemophilia) is on the X chromosome so females can be silent carriers without symptoms and males can be hemophiliacs.
faintsudden loss of consciousness (i.e.,systole).
fastingWithout eating. A number of laboratory tests are performed on "fasting" blood specimens such as sugar (glucose) levels and tolerance tests such as glucose, lactose and dextrose. Specimens are usually taken after overnight fasting.
fibrinThe protein formed during normal blood clotting that is the essence of the clot.
fibrinogenThe protein from which fibrin is formed/generated in normal blood clotting.
fistulaAn abnormal passageway usually between two internal organs. Such passages may be created experimentally for the purpose of obtaining body secretions for study.
flash-backRelative to venipunctures, the appearance of a small amount of blood in the neck of a syringe or the tubing of a butterfly. This is a sign that the vein has been properly accessed.
flexionThe process of bending or the state of being bent. Flexion of the fingers results in a clenched fist.
gaugeNeedle diameter is measured by gauge; the larger the needle diameter, the smaller the gauge. For example, a very large diameter needle (16 ga.) may be used for hemodialysis, whereas a much smaller needle (23 ga.) would be used to draw blood for laboratory testing.
germicidean agent that kills pathogenic microorganisms
glucoseThe sugar measured in blood and urine specimens to determine the presence or absence of diabetes. Glucose is the end product of carbohydrate metabolism and is the chief source of energy for all living organisms.
graftAn implant or transplant of any tissue or organ.
harvestingThe collection and preservation of tissues or cells from a donor for the purpose of transplantation.
hematocritThe ratio of the total red blood cell volume to the total blood volume and expressed as a percentage.
hematomaA localized collection of blood within tissue due to leakage from the wall of a blood vessel, producing a bluish discoloration (ecchymosis)and pain.
hemoconcentrationA decrease in the fluid content of the blood (plasma), resulting in an increase in concentration. This is determined by an increase in the hematocrit. Caused by a filtration of plasma into body tissues and often created by dehydration.
hemodialysisThe removal of certain components of the blood by virtue of the difference in their rates of diffusion through a semipermeable membrane. A method often used for removing undesirable elements from the blood in kidney patients.
hemoglobinThe oxygen carrying pigment of the red blood cells.
hemolysisThe breaking of the red blood cells membrane releasing free hemoglobin into the circulating blood. In phlebotomy, this is usually the result of mechanical damage due to poor technique.
hemostasisThe cessation of bleeding, either by vasoconstriction and coagulation or by surgical means.
heparinAn anticoagulant that acts to inhibit a number of coagulation factors, especially factor Xa. Heparin is formed in the liver.
hepatitisInflammation of the liver.
hepatitis Ausually a self limited viral disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Transmission is usually the result of poor hygiene and most often through the fecal-oral route. Most recently implicated in numerous outbreaks at restaurants where employee hygiene is suspect. Usual symptoms include mild flu-like distress and possible mild jaundice.
hepatitis BAn acute form of hepatitis caused by hepatitis B virus. The virus is shed in body fluids of chronic and acute patients as well as asymptomatic carriers. Transmission is primarily by blood transfusions, needlestick injuries by health care workers and sharing of needles by drug abusers. It has also been known to be transferred from mother to neonate and by intimate sexual contact. Symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting and jaundice. This is usually self-limiting but the range varies extensively.
hepatitis CCaused by hepatitis C virus, this is the most common for of hepatitis after blood transfusion. It is also the most prevalent form resulting from needle sharing by drug abusers and is occasionally implicated in health care worker involving parenteral transfer through needlesticks or scalpel injuries. Symptoms are generally mild and the disease may revert from acute to chronic in a large percentage of patients. Cirrhosis may occur.
Hickman catheterA hollow silicone (soft, rubber-like material) tube inserted and secured into a large vein in the chest for long-term use to administer drugs or nutrients. The catheter is inserted through a small incision made near the collarbone. Medication, blood products, nutritional support, and new bone marrow can be delivered through the catheter.
HIVHuman Immunodeficiency Virus
Human Immunodeficiency VirusThe virus known to be responsible for producing Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
humoralPertaining to elements dissolved in blood or body fluids, e.g., homoral immunity from antibodies in the blood as opposed to cellular immunity.
hyperglycemiaAn abnormally high glucose in the blood.
hypersensitivityA state in which the body reacts with an exaggerated immune response to a foreign substance. Reactions are classified as delayed or immediate types.
hypodermic needleA needle that attaches to a syringe for the purpose of injections or withdrawal of fluids such as blood.
hypoglycemiaAn abnormally low glucose level in the blood.
ICD9 codeICD9 codes describe medical or psychiatric procedures performed by physicians and other health providers. The ICD9 codes were developed by the Health Care Financing Administration (now CMS) to assist in the assignment of reimbursement amounts to providers by Medicare carriers. A growing number of managed care and other insurance companies, however, base their reimbursements on the ICD9 codes.
implantAn object or material, such as tissue, partially or totally inserted or grafted into the body of a recipient.
invitroOutside the living body; inside a glass; observable in a test tube
invivoInside the living body.
Krebs CycleSee: Citric Acid Cycle
laminar flow hoodSafety cabinets with air flow in such a direction as to carry any harmful materials or fumes away from the worker.
lancetA small pointed blade usually with two edges used for incising or puncturing.
lateralA position farther from the midline of the body or another reference structure.
LeukocyteSee: "white blood cells".
lymphFluid found in lymphatic vessels and nodes derived from tissue fluids. Lymph is collected from all parts of the body and returned to the blood by the lymphatic system.
lymphedemaLymphedema is a type of swelling which occurs in lymphatic tissue when excess fluid collects in the arms or legs because the lymph nodes or vessels are blocked or removed. Regarding phlebotomy, this can be a major complication of mastectomies.
lymphocyteAny of the mononuclear, nonphagocytic leukocytes, found in the blood and lymph, which are the body's immunologically competent cells. Most are small, 7-10µ in diameter with a round or slightly indented nucleus that almost fills the cell with a thin rim of cytoplasm that may contain a few granules.
lysosomeOne of the minute particles seen with the electron microscope in many types of cells, containing various hydrolytic enzymes and normally involved in the process of localized digestion inside the cell.
lytesA substance that will acquire the capacity to conduct electricity when put into solution. Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and phosphate.
macrophageAny of the many forms of mononuclear phagocytes found in tissues and originating from stem cells in the bone marrow. In normal circulation, the monocyte may be categorized as a macrophage.
MCH - Mean Corpuscular HemoglobinThe average hemoglobin content in a red blood cell (erythrocyte), expressed in picograms/RBC. This is the average amount of hemoglobin per RBC. Calculation:MCH = (Hgb x 10) ÷ RBC Where: Hgb = blood hemoglobin concentration (g/dL) RBC = Red cell count (millions/mL)
MCHC - Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin ConcentrationThe average hemoglobin concentration in red blood cells (erythrocytes), expressed in "percent" (g/dL). This is the amount of hemoglobin relative to the size of the cell per RBC. Calculation:MCHC = Hgb ÷ Hct Where: Hgb = blood hemoglobin concentration (g/dL) Hct = hematocrit (%)
MCV - Mean Corpuscular VolumeAverage volume of red blood cells (erythrocytes), expressed in cubic micrometers (µm3) or femtoliters. This is the average RBC size. Calculation: MCV = (Hct ÷ RBC) x 10 Where: Hct = hematocrit (%) RBC = Red cell count (millions/mL)
medialPertaining to the middle aspect; closer to the midline of the body or structure.
medial cubital veinthe forearm vein most commonly used for venipuncture because it is generally the largest and best-anchored vein
microcapillaryReferring to collection of blood specimens by puncturing capillaries, usually in the heel of infants or the fingers of children and adults. This procedure is limited to collection of very small quantities of sample.
monocyteA mononuclear, phagocytic leukocyte, 13-25µ in diameter, with an oval to kidney shaped nucleus, lacey chromatin and abundant gray-blue cytoplasm, sometimes containing fine reddish granule.
mononuclearA cell containing but one nucleus. In blood circulation, monocyte and lymphocyte.
multi-sample adapterA device used with a butterfly and Vacutainer holder to allow for the withdrawal of multiple tubes of blood during a venipuncture
negative air pressurePressure less than that of atmosphere. For example, considering an isolation unit where the room air is under negative pressure, when the rooms door is open, air from outside the room is brought into the room which restricts any contaminated air from exiting.
neutrophilA polymorphonuclear granular leukocyte having a nucleus with 3-5 lobes connected by slender threads of chromatin, and cytoplasm containing fine inconspicuous granules. Neutrophils are the major phagocytes in the circulation.
nosocomial infectionA hospital-borne infection. An infection whose origin is from within the hospital environment.
Order of DrawTerminology used to define the order in which blood sample tubes should be drawn using a multi-sample technique such as the Vacutainer™ System.
Other Potentially Infectious Material (OPIM)OPIM, as defined by the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standards, means (1) The following human body fluids: semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids; (2) Any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead); and (3) HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, and HIV- or HBV-containing culture medium or other solutions; and blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV.
oxyhemoglobinHemoglobin that has been bound with oxygen in the lungs for the purpose of transport of oxygen to cells of the body. In the cells oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide (see carbamate hemoglobin).
pallorPaleness; decrease of absence of skin color.
palmarReferring to the palm surface or side of the hand
palpateTo examine or feel by the hand. In relation to venipunctures, this technique is used to "feel" a vein which will tend to rebound when slight pressure is applied with the finger. The technique is used to help determine the size, depth and direction of a vein. In relation to arterial punctures, this technique is used to determine the position and depth of an artery.
Parafilm™A thin film of paraffin used primarily in the laboratory to seal open containers such as test tubes.
pathogenAny microorganism that produces disease.
pathogenicHaving the capability of producing disease.
peripheral bloodBlood obtained from the circulation away from the heart, such as from the fingertip, heel pad, earlobe or from an antecubital vein.
peritoneal dialysisDialysis through the peritoneum.
peritoneumThe membrane lining the abdominal and pelvic wall.
pHThe symbol used to depict the hydrogen ion concentration of a solution, i.e. acidity. pH 7.0 is neutral; above 7.0 is alkaline, below is acid.
phagocytosisA phagocyte is any cell capable of ingesting particulate matter. The term usually refers to WBC's, specifically polymorphonuclear leukocytes , monocytes and macrophages in tissues. The particulate is taken into the cell in a membrane-bound vacuole called a phagosome. The phagosome combines with lysosomes within the cell cytoplasm forming phagolysosomes which then digest and distroy the particulate.
phlebitisInflammation of a vein. The condition is marked by infiltration of the layers of the vein and the formation of a clot. It produces edema, stiffness and pain in the affected area.
phlebotomistOne who practices phlebotomy
phlebotomyThe incision of a vein as for blood letting (venesection); needle puncture of a vein for the purpose of drawing blood (venipuncture).
pipetA glass or transparent plastic tube used to accurately measure small amounts of liquid.
plasmaThe fluid portion of the blood in which the cellular components are suspended. Plasma contains coagulation factors used in the clotting of blood as opposed to serum.
plateletAlso known as a thrombocyte, this is a particulate component of the blood, approximately 2-4 microns in diameter and known for its involvement in blood coagulation. This structure, which has no nucleus or DNA, is formed by breaking off from the cytoplasm of the parent cell, known as a megakaryocyte in the bone marrow. Under normal conditions, platelets will aggregate at the site of a break in vascular integrity, forming the beginning stages of a clot. Normal platelet counts range from 150,000-450,000/cm³.
plateletpheresisThe selective separation and removal of platelets from withdrawn blood. The remainder of the blood is re-transfused back into the donor. Also: thrombapheresis and thrombocytapheresis.
polymorphonuclearA white blood cell with a nucleus so deeply lobed so as to appear to have multiple nuclei. Leukocytes so categorized include neutrophils, and to a lesser degree, eosinophils and basophils.
posteriorsituated at the back (dorsal) part of a structure.
povidone-iodineUsed as a topical antiseptic, this is a compound made by reacting iodine with povidone which slowly releases iodine. As related to phlebotomy, povidone-iodine is routinely used as the antiseptic of choice for blood cultures, bleeding times and for patients with allergies to alcohol. Betadine™.
proneLying face down; opposed to supine.
prophylaxisA preventative treatment.
protoplasmThe viscid, translucent fluid that makes up the essential material of all plant and animal cells. The protoplasm surrounding tne nucleus is called cytoplasm and that composing the nucleus is nucleoplasm.
proximalNearest to any other point of reference.
QNS"Quantity Not Sufficient"
Red blood cell (RBC)One of the solid components of the blood which is normally a biconcave disc with no nucleus. This is the component of the blood that contains hemoglobin which is responsible for oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. A red cell count is performed as part of a complete blood count and ranges from 4,500,000-5,000,000 RBC's per cubic millimeter.
Reverse isolationAn isolation procedure designed to protect the patient from contracting disease. Frequently used for transplant patients or for patients whose immune response has been greatly reduced.
Rh SystemThe most complex of all human blood groups and is responsible for serious hemolytic disease of the newborn.
sclerosisA hardening, especially from inflammation and certain disease states. Though sclerosis may occur in many areas of the body, the term is most often associated with blood vessels.
semipermeablePermitting the passage of certain molecules and hindering others.
serumReferring to blood, the clear liquid portion of blood that separates out after clotting has taken place. Since clotting has occurred, serum is fibrinogen deficient. Contrast to plasma.
Standard PrecautionsThe most important of two categories of precautions under new CDC recommendations to replace the current "Universal Precautions" guidelines. These precautions are designed for the care of all patients in hospitals regardless of their diagnosis or presumed infection status and is the primary strategy for successful nosocomial infection control.
statAbbreviation for the Latin word statim, meaning immediately.
supineLying down with the face up; opposed to prone.
syncope (vasovagal syncope)Fainting; a temporary loss of consciousness due to a reduction of blood to the brain.
syringeAn instrument used to inject fluids into or aspirate fluids from any vessel or cavity. A syringe generally consists of two parts, the barrel and the plunger and works much as the piston of an automobile. As the plunger is pulled up a negative pressure is created which draws fluids up into the barrel; if the plunger is pushed down a positive pressure is exerted and any fluid in the barrel is expelled. A hypodermic needle is normally affixed to the end of the syringe for injections and a butterfly for a venipuncture. The use of a syringe and straight hypodermic needle for phlebotomy is no longer considered an acceptable procedure.
therapeuticPertaining to results obtained through treatment; having medicinal or healing properties; a healing agent.
thrombocyteAlso known as a platelet, this is a particulate component of the blood, approximately 2-4 microns in diameter and known for its involvement in blood coagulation. This structure, which has no nucleus or DNA, is formed by breaking off from the cytoplasm of the parent cell, known as a megakaryocyte in the bone marrow. Under normal conditions, platelets will aggregate at the site of a break in vascular integrity, forming the beginning stages of a clot. Normal platelet counts range from 150,000-450,000/cm³.
thrombocytopeniaDecrease in the number of blood platelets below normal values.
thrombosisThe formation of a blood clot (thrombus) within a vessel.
thrombusA blood clot obstructing a blood vessel or a cavity of the heart. Heparin and Coumadin™ are being used to assist in dissolving or preventing clot formations.
tourniquetIn regards to venipuncture, a constrictive band, placed over an extremity to distend veins for the purpose of blood aspiration or intravenous injections. Materials used may be rubber, latex or other synthetic elastic material. A blood pressure cuff may also be used.
Transmission-Based PrecautionsA new category of precautions as proposed by the CDC to replace the current "Universal Precautions". This category is used for patients known or suspected to be infected or colonized with epidemiologically important pathogens that can be transmitted by airborne or droplet transmission or by contact with dry skin or contaminated surfaces. Compare to "Standard Precautions".
transplantAn organ or tissue taken from the body for grafting into another part of the same body or into another individual. SYN: graft
Universal (Standard) PrecautionsA set of procedures and protocols designed to protect the heathcare worker which uses the basic concept that each patient must be treated as though they were infected with an infectious disease such as AIDS or hepatitis.
vacuoleAny small space of cavity formed in the protoplasm of a cell.
Vacutainer™An often generic term used to describe equipment used to automatically aspirate blood from a vessel by venipuncture. The concept was first devised and produced by Becton Dickinson under the trademark, Vacutainer.
Vacutainer™ HolderA cylindrical shaped holder that accepts a Vacutainer tube on one end and a Vacutainer needle on the other. The holder, tube and needle comprise the Vacutainer System, used to draw multiple tubes of blood with one venipuncture.
Vacutainer™ NeedleThe needle used to attach to a Vacutainer holder. The needle has a male thread on one end which screws into the holder. The threaded end also has a large gauge needle, enclosed by a rubber sheath. This needle will puncture the stopper of a Vacutainer tube allowing blood to enter the tube. Upon withdrawal of this needle from the tube, the rubber sheath covers the needle bevel, stopping the flow of blood. Thus, any number of tubes may be drawn with only a single venipuncture.
Vacutainer™ SystemThe combination of a Vacutainer holder, needle and sample tube which allows for a more automated method of drawing blood. When a multi-sample needle is used the system will allow for the aspiration of any number of sample tubes with only one venipuncture.
Vacutainer™ tubeBlood sample tubes containing a vacuum. When the tube stopper is pierced by a Vacutainer needle which has been properly positioned in a vein, the vacuum draws blood into the tube.
vascularPertaining to or composed of blood vessels. The vascular system is composed of the heart, blood vessels, lymphatics and their parts considered collectively.
vascular graftType of an arteriovenous fistula consisting of either a venous autograft or synthetic tube which is grafted to the artery and vein.
vasoconstrictiondecrease in the inside diameter of especially arterioles leading to a decrease in blood flow to a part.
vasovagal responsea transient vascular and neurogenic reaction marked by pallor, nausea, sweating, slowing heart rate and a rapid fall in arterial blood pressure which may result in loss of consciousness. It is most often the result of emotional stress associated with pain or fear. SYN: vasovagal syncope, vasovagal attack, vasodepressor syncope.
veinBlood vessels carrying blood to the heart. Blood contained within these vessels is generally bound with carbon dioxide which will be exchanged for oxygen in the lungs. The presence of carbon dioxide and the absence of oxygen accounts for the dark red appearance of the blood in venous circulation. The only exception to this is the pulmonary vein which is the vein returning to the heart from the lungs, this time with oxygenated blood (no carbon dioxide).
venesectionOpening of a vein for the purpose of collecting blood. SYN: Blood letting
venipunctureThe puncture of a vein for any purpose
venousPertaining to the veins, or blood passing through them.
ventralPertaining to the front side of the body. SYN: anterior
venuleA very tiny vein, continuous with the capillaries. Compare with arteriole.
volarPertaining to the palm or sole; indicating the flexor portion of the forearm, wrist or hand.
warfarin sodiumThe sodium salt of warfarin, one of the synthetic anticoagulants. Coumadin™.
white blood cellAlso leukocyte. A variety of cells within the blood and bone marrow whose general purpose is to help in fighting infection. Each type is differentiated by use of a stained preparation (see differential) and is separated based on how the cells and their components take up the stain. The five general cells thus distinguished are neutrophils, lymphocytes , monocytes , basophils and eosinophils all of which are nucleated cells.
whole bloodBlood from which none of the elements have been removed. It is usually referred to as that blood, collected from a donor and anticoagulated for the purpose of blood replenishment for a recipient.
white blood cell countThe number of white blood cells (leukocytes) found in the peripheral blood and measured per cubic millimeter.

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