Find out if this simple new health test could work for you
New developments in pathology testing mean that some common blood tests can now be done from a few spots of blood from your fingertip.
If you don’t like needles, or just don’t want the fuss of a traditional blood test – a fingerprick blood test could be an option.
But before you decide if it’s right for you, find out more about how fingerprick blood tests work, their accuracy, and what they can be used for.Afraid of needles, or don’t want the fuss of a #bloodtest? A #fingerprick test could be an option. Click To Tweet
How a traditional blood test works
If you’ve ever had a traditional needle-in-arm blood test, you know what happens.
A nurse inserts a needle through your skin and into a vein. Usually, they’ll find a vein in the crook of your elbow (sometimes elsewhere) and will wrap a tourniquet around your upper arm to make the vein more obvious. The blood gets drawn out through the needle into a syringe and put into tubes. These tubes go off to the pathology lab, where the blood is analysed for the things your doctor has requested on the referral form.
For many people, giving a blood sample this way is easy and fairly painless. But for some, including people who have veins that are small or difficult to access, and others who have a fear of needles, having a blood test can be a stressful experience.
How a fingerprick blood test works and what they can be used for
One of the best things about a fingerprick blood test is that it can be done by you – at home. And, taking a blood sample via a fingerprick can seem much less intimidating than having a needle inserted into a vein.
For MyHealthTest fingerprick blood test services, you prick your finger with a safety lancet (like a small pin) and drop a couple of spots of blood onto a specialised collection card. Then you put the card straight into an envelope and post it to our pathology lab where the dried blood spots are analysed.It’s important to get the best sample because you’re providing a small amount of blood. Click To Tweet
Dried blood spot testing was first introduced in 1963 and is now routinely used in heel-prick screening for newborn babies. MyHealthTest’s dried blood spot sampling for diabetes (HbA1c) was developed and validated by scientists at the Australian National University. In 2015, researchers from the John Curtin School of Medical Research ran a comparative study of HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin) levels in dried blood spots versus venous (from a vein) whole blood. The results of this work – published in BMC Clinical Pathology – show the accuracy and precision of dried blood spot testing for HbA1c.
We now have other fingerprick blood tests in development, including testing for prostate problems and thyroid issues.
How to collect a good fingerprick blood sample
While dried blood spot sampling from fingerprick tests have been shown to be accurate, it’s important to get the best possible sample because you’re providing such a small amount of blood.
This is the recommended technique to collect a fingerprick blood sample:
- Warm your hands by shaking or rubbing your hands together to help blood flow to the area
- Use the tip of your third or fourth finger (counting from the thumb)
- Wipe away the first drop of blood with the gauze pad
- Allow a large drop of blood to form on your fingertip (you may need to gently massage your finger)
- When you’re filling the collection card, touch the drop of blood to the card – not your finger – and just put one large drop of blood onto each circle
Get professional advice
If you’re unsure about whether fingerprick blood testing is right for you, speak to your doctor or healthcare professional.
Our test service is a simple, easy way to check your health across a range of areas including diabetes, and soon, indicators related to prostate, cholesterol and thyroid. However, it’s not a substitute for medical advice and you should always discuss any concerns (and share your test results) with your doctor.
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