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Guide to Capillary Heelstick Blood Sampling in Infants

Folk, Laura A. RNC, BSN, MEd

Section Editor(s): SHORT, MARY A. RN, MSN

doi: 10.1097/01.ANC.0000286333.67928.04
Foundation in Newborn Care

Capillary blood sampling is an essential method of blood collection performed by nurses of all skill levels to obtain samples for routine laboratory tests in neonates. Accuracy of results depends on proper heelstick and sample collection technique. Recent advances including development of devices designed specifically for heelstick capillary blood sampling and research into expanded safe heel capillary sampling sites are discussed. A step-by-step guide to capillary blood sampling is outlined along with evidence-based practice incorporating neonatal-appropriate disinfection and nonpharmacological analgesia that contribute to improved infant safety and comfort during and after the procedure.

From the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC.

Address correspondence to Laura A. Folk, 8406 Bound Brook Lane, Alexandria, VA 22309. E-mail:

The author has no proprietary interest in any of the products mentioned in this article.

© 2007 National Association of Neonatal Nurses