What is Phlebotomy?

Phlebotomy is also called a blood draw or venipuncture. It is used to diagnose many medical conditions and therapeutic phlebotomy to treat people with:

  • Hemochromatosis
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Polycythemia vera
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Sickle cell disease


Typically there is no specific preparation for most blood tests. However, doctors will give instructions for some people who may need fasting for 8-12 hours ahead of time.

Risks and Side Effects

You should be OK afterward but still experience uncomfortable feelings, including:

  • You might experience a vasovagal reaction, a physical response from your nervous system which could make you feel dizzy, sweaty, cause your heart rate or blood pressure to drop, and even faint.


  • Relaxation techniques like deep breathing
  • If dizzy afterward, lie or sit down and put your head between your knees until you stop feeling lightheaded.
  • Redness or bruising where the needle may appear in the next day
  • The spot might be a little sore, too
  • The doctor will recommend drinking plenty of fluids, avoid alcohol, and not exercising for the next few hours.
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