Dermal Puncture and Capillary Blood Collection (by LabCE)

1 P.A.C.E. contact hour(s)

(based on 1,629 customer ratings)

Authors: Mary Ertl Dettmann, MA, CLS, MT(ASCP); Beth Kratzer, CLS, MT(ASCP)
Reviewers: Carolyn Webb, MT(ASCP) and Alexandru Casapu, MBA, MLS(ASCP)CM

Course provided by LabCE.

Phlebotomists and point-of-care instrument operators (laboratory, nursing and respiratory therapy personnel) frequently need to perform dermal punctures to collect capillary blood specimens for testing. This course discusses procedures that should be used to ensure a successful and safe heelstick on an infant or fingerstick on an older child or adult. The course also highlights several tests that use capillary blood where collection technique is particularly important to obtain a quality specimen, including metabolic testing on newborns, capillary blood gases, and lead levels.

See more courses in: Phlebotomy

Continuing Education Credits

P.A.C.E.® Contact Hours (acceptable for AMT, ASCP, and state recertification): 1 hour(s)
Course number 578-069-21, approved through 11/30/2023
Course number 20-888260, approved through 11/30/2023


  • Define venous, arterial and capillary blood.
  • Locate the acceptable sites for puncture and collection of capillary blood on a finger and infant heel.
  • Identify and select the appropriate dermal puncture device and other equipment needed to perform capillary blood collection on adults, children and infants.
  • List and explain all procedural steps required to positively identify the patient and safely perform a capillary puncture.
  • Discuss risks and special circumstances associated with the dermal puncture procedure.

Customer Ratings

(based on 1,629 customer ratings)

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Course Outline

  • Introduction
      • Introduction
  • Safety First
      • Protect Yourself and Your Patient
  • Get Ready for the Collection
    • What is the difference?
      • Venous, Arterial, and Capillary Blood Specimens
      • Dermal Puncture vs Venipuncture
    • Site Selection
      • Using the Fingers for Dermal Puncture
      • Using the Heel for Dermal Puncture
    • Equipment Needed
      • Puncture Devices
      • Miscellaneous Equipment
  • Obtaining the Specimen
      • Patient Identification
      • Site Preparation
      • Let Gravity Be Your Friend
      • Finger Puncture
      • Heel Puncture
      • Properly Filling and Mixing a Microcollection Container
      • Order of Draw
      • Positioning the Puncture Device for a Fingerstick
    • Procedure Notes and Cautions
      • Oh No...The Blood Has Stopped Flowing
      • Inappropriate Sites/Patients for Capillary Puncture
      • Infants and Geriatric Patients: Monitor the Amount of Blood Obtained
      • Protect Me From the Light
  • Special Circumstances
    • Filter paper Collection
      • The Need for Metabolic Testing on Newborns
      • Capillary Blood Collection for Metabolic Testing
      • Processing Filter Cards after Collection
    • Specialized Capillary Blood Testing
      • Hematology Specimens
      • Capillary Blood Gases
    • Lead Collection
      • Lead: An Important Public Health Concern
    • Sucrose Solution
      • Using Sucrose as an Analgesic Prior to Heel Puncture and Capillary Blood Collection
  • References
      • References

Additional Information

Level of instruction: Basic
Intended audience: This program is designed as an educational and training tool for laboratory personnel, phlebotomists, and other healthcare personnel who perform dermal punctures for capillary blood collection or point-of-care testing. This course is also appropriate for clinical laboratory science and phlebotomy students.
Author information: Mary Ertl Dettmann, MA, CLS, MT(ASCP) is the education supervisor for Wheaton Franciscan Laboratory in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Health Care Administration from Central Michigan University. She has created several interactive, adult-learning courses in laboratory-related subjects including phlebotomy.
Author Information: Beth Kratzer, CLS, MT(ASCP) is a Clinical Trainer in the Education Department at Wheaton Franciscan Laboratories in Wauwatosa Wisconsin. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire in 1981 and obtained a Certificate of Professional Training from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2004. In addition to many years of technical experience in the hospital environment, Beth has been involved in the creation, implementation, and facilitation of educational and training programs for healthcare associates since 2001.
Reviewer information: Carolyn Webb, MT(ASCP) is the CLS-Lead for the Wheaton Franciscan Central Laboratory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is responsible for reviewing and revising policies and procedures in hematology, urinalysis, and coagulation and is the primary instructor for all new employees in these areas. She previously held the position of Point-of-Care Coordinator. Ms. Webb graduated from Marquette University with a BS in Medical Technology.
Reviewer Information: Alexandru Casapu, MBA, MLS(ASCP)CM, has over 20 years of experience as a medical laboratory scientist, section supervisor, and laboratory manager. He is the former Director of Clinical Laboratory Technology Program at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. He is currently a Program Director at MediaLab, Inc. Alexandru holds BS degrees in Biology and Medical Technology from Clark Atlanta University and an MBA from the University of Georgia.

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