There are four common sites phlebotomists use for blood draws: median antecubital, cephalic, basilic and dorsal hand. While each vein is viable for a blood draw, it is important to understand each draw site’s potential risks.
MEDIAN ANTECUBITAL VEIN
The median antecubital vein is the most common for blood draws. It is in the inner arm, anterior of the elbow joint. This vein is associated with minimal pain and is the most prominent when anchored.
Located on the lateral portion of the arm, the cephalic vein is the second most common draw site choice. The cephalic vein is a safe alternative to the median antecubital vein when necessary.
Similar to the top two choices, the basilic vein is on the medial side of the arm. Drawing blood from this area does pose a greater likelihood of the vein rolling or collapsing because it is difficult to anchor. This vein is also closer to the artery and nerve which makes it more challenging to draw from.
DORSAL HAND VEINS
Dorsal hand veins are often the last resort for phlebotomists, but they can be successful. These veins are found above the hand, near the wrist, and by the thumb.