How to draw blood with a Butterfly Needle

Hypodermic needles

Hypodermic needles are common to all medical facilities. One can usually see a hypodermic needle in the end of syringes used to inject substances or extract substance from the subject. Due to that purpose, all hypodermic needles are hollow on the inside which allows substances to pass through a stainless steel tube that the needle is made of. Here are some of the characteristics of a typical hypodermic needle that you might find poking in your flesh anytime soon.

Characteristics Of A Hypodermic Needle

  •     Made of a sterile hollow stainless steel tube.
  •     Differs in gauges, the larger the gauge means the smaller is the diameter of the hypodermic needle.
  •     Differs in bevel or the angle of the point. There are numerous hypodermic needles that has different bevels to address different purposes.

Perhaps the hypodermic needle is known for medical use which is in fact very true. From vaccinations for babies to insulin injection shots for diabetic patients, you would need a hypodermic needle to administer the essential fluids to the subject. A hypodermic needle can also be used to extract blood by pulling the syringe outward thus creating suction and drawing out blood into the syringe. Since there are numerous medicines in fluid form, the importance of hypodermic needles is very much emphasized.

You might also be curious on how to use a hypodermic needle properly. Medical professionals don’t just poke such needle anywhere in your body in whatever fashion they prefer. They do follow standard procedures in using a hypodermic needle whether its administering something or extracting blood.
Using A Hypodermic Needle

    First, the medical professional must have clean hands and the hypodermic needle must be sterile.
    The flesh area to be pierced must be disinfected. Usually done by swapping cotton soaked with alcohol.
    Common areas of the body where a hypodermic needle is pierced is either the upper arm area or the rear for injections, in the veins located in the hands or lower arm for butterfly needles.
    When a hypodermic needle with a smaller gauge or a larger diameter is used, pressure needs to be applied on the body area subjected to be pierced to reduce pain. Usually done in the arms, a rubber tie is wrapped around the arm to induce pressure and lessen pain of the extraction or infusion.

All medical hypodermic needles can also be used by a medical professional. Hence you can be trained to use one if ever you need to use one to administer medication for yourself like insulin shots for diabetic patients. Also, you might also be curious to know that there are hypodermic needles used for other purposes other than medical. You can find industrial hypodermic needles with blunt tips used to administer fluids like adhesives, pastes, lubricants and other fluids.

Huber Needle Uses

Huber Needle Uses

Huber needles are designed in a  way to make hospital treatment processes ( such as cancer treatment ) more easy, the needle enters the port through the silicone septum without causing an damages neither the septum nor the tissues, The main feature of the huber needle its ability to remain in the port for several hours to days, soo frequent treatments needed for the patient is done with minimum pain to the patient ( considering choosing the right gauge and length ). Huber needle has many uses which we will mention some :
Portacath Huber needle small Huber Needle
Huber needle
  • Blood Draw : During patients stay in hospital blood is necessarily needed to be tested and taken from the patient not once but several times which used to cause vein collapse. But the Huber needle can remain in the port which is implanted in the body for several days saving the patient from these several punctures.
  • Chemotherapy : Cancer causes tissues and cells extremely exposed to damage, this is a major problems because cancer patients treatment needs many needle insertion as well as taking medications for curing but skin can’t tolerate. Huber needle needs only once to be inserted and left behind which is already connected to a catheter line through the silicone septum port which extends to a main vein ( usually superior vena cava ).
  • Medication administration : Best feature as we mentioned earlier is that Huber needles can be left in the implanted port for several days so patients needing frequent treatment benefit from this , Using the needle during dialysis, fluid intake, medication administration and blood transfusion without having to be pricked each time making the patient life much easier.

Huber Needles

A Huber Needle is a hollow needle with a long beveled , sharp, directional needle tip  which is designed by a dentist Dr. Ralph L. Huber and refined afterwards by an anesthesiologist Dr. Edward B. Tuohy to be used in spinal catheter .
Implanted port 231x300 Huber NeedleThe Huber Needle is an alternative to other delivery systems used for infusion as they are used with patients that need repeated vascular access and fluid therapy for long term, and is specially designed to be used with implanted ports.
Port systems has many uses as blood withdraw, medication infusion, parenteral nutritional solutions, blood products and imaging solutions.The implanted port systems is composed of two parts :
  1.    The injection port with a septum that is self sealing .
  2.    A radiopaque catheter that extends above S.V.C for faster dilution and a more effective flow into patient’s circulatory system .
To appreciate the Huber invention and why it is important to vascular access port users, a short huber needle bevel Huber Needlediscussion of needle point geometry & style may be helpful. The term bevel refers to the angle surface formed on the needle shaft when sharpened to make the needle point. Bevel length is the longest distance of the bevel measured from the tip of the needle to the most proximate area of the grinding behind the heel.
  • An “A” bevel needle has the longest and sharpest point & is used in blood collection as it slides through the skin very easily. The tip is very delicate & can easily be deflected or damaged.
  • A “C” bevel needle does not have a sharp point, & is therefore sturdier & less delicate. It is used in applications such as piercing a rubber stopper.
  • The “B” bevel needle has characteristics in-between the A & C bevels being relatively sturdy & sharp.
Non-coring Huber style needles are “B” bevelled needles with a relatively sharp point. The heel is  sandblasted to minimize coring & the point/tip is deflected – the tip is raised above the center line to minimize contact with the tissue or media.

How Huber Needle Work

The Huber Needle is inserted to pass through the implanted port septum and into the port reservoir, then the fluid is inserted to flow from the reservoir through the catheter which then finally enters into the patient’s vascular system.

How The Huber Point Preserves The Septum

When you access the silicone septum of the port with a Huber needle, a plug of silicone is not cut from the septum as happens with a standard hypodermic needle. The angle of the “B” bevel Huber causes a parting of the silicone septum as the needle enters the septum. Because the septum is fitted into the port under pressure, it closes up around the needle. Once the needle is removed you see only an impression of where the needle entered, no hole is made. Accessing the septum with a regular needle on a regular basis will result in a loss of integrity of the septum and leakage.

Huber Needle Risks

One of the common drawbacks of this type of needle is the high rate of needle stick injuries, it usually happens during the withdrawn of the needle from the implanted port system. As the port systems needs to be stabilized with one hand and the needle is taken out with the other hand, but due to the need of force to overcome the resistance of the elastic septum rebound effect occurs , this accounts for the majority of the Huber needle stick injuries. This very dangerous because ports mostly provide the venous access for patients with Hepatitis B and AIDS.

Variety of Huber needles

Huber needles comes in many varieties because of the importance of this needle, several sizes are found which is measured by gauges (it includes 19, 20, 22, 24, 25), these numbers stands for the needle diameter, The higher the gauge, The smaller the Needle. Also Huber needles are color coded for each of its length which come in sizes 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches to make finding the right size easier. The Huber needle can be straight or curved which each has a different use.huber Huber Needle
  • Straight Huber Needle :   Used for flushing out ports and catheters – administering injections – any short term applications.
  • Curved Huber Needle :   it is designed to be left in the implanted port for several days, they are Used for administering nutritional fluids, chemotherapy fluids and medications as antibiotics.


Butterfly Needle Advantages and Disadvantages

Butterfly needle is easily used by nurses when the need of blood transfusion and blood collecting during a venipuncture or intravenous feeding , the name of the needle comes from its wings which are flexible and attached to both sides of the needle corners , it can be folded to be used as a grip as they are flexible enough to be hold between the nurse’s fingers making the process of inserting the needle into the blood vein easy and safe .
Drawing blood is a reality of daily life. Nearly everyone experience it at some point. Worrying of the discomfort and several punctures cause many people to flinch at the thought. Knowing the kinds of needles used in phlebotomy can help allay these concerns.

Butterfly Needle Gauges

The butterfly needle comes in different types and sizes , available sizes are 21, 23 and 25 gauge ,the number here is inversely proportional to the diameter as by increasing the number the butterfly needle gets thinner.
The function of the butterfly needle is to draw blood samples from wrist, hand and foot , its benefits really appear when the veins are too deep or when uncooperative patients keep moving or is anxious during blood drawn , another feature of the butterfly needle that the tube is not attached directly to the collection tube, so the patient can move with some degree of ease, without moving the collecting jar or sample out of place.

Butterfly Needle Advantages and Disadvantages

The butterfly needle is nearly similar to any other needle sets in their functions and actions but differs from them with slight variations and differ with its advantages as :
1) It is generally less painful Because the butterfly needle is a smaller needle gauge (23 gauge is a standard )
2) Using a butterfly infusion set is less likely to collapse the patient’s vein, because of the smaller needle gauge and length of attached tubing, which dissipates the strength of the vacuum when using the evacuated system.
3) This system is the best choice when the patient’s veins are small, as is often the case with children and elderly.
4) It enables to obtain a blood sample from infants with out having to use the heel stick method which is more difficult giving a hard time for them.
5) Making drawing blood from a combative patient a much more safe procedure and without any harmful risks.
6) Ability to obtain the specimen from the back of the patient hand with a lower risk of nerve damage prevalent when using a straight needle in the back of the patients hand.
7) For incredibly difficult blood draws the phlebotomist is able to get an immediate flash to let them know that they are in the vein.
But the drawbacks and disadvantages of this method include :
1) The risk of hemolysis because of the small gauge of the needle which causes the blood cell to be damaged and platelets clumping .
2) It is difficult to collect large quantities of blood using this method .
3) It takes longer to fill the syringe or evacuated tubes when using butterfly infusion sets.
4) the push button butterflies are very sensitive and the safety may release mid-draw causing a need for a second blood draw.
5) The butterfly needle with the tube system requires to be in the arm for a longer time because of the slow blood flow, also it requires the tourniquet to stay on longer increasing the likeliness of abnormal results for some tests.
6) If many tubes are required a second blood draw may be required because of the vacuum from the tubes because of the too much drawing from the vein.
7) Vein “rolling” and “collapsing” is experienced by phlebotomist during blood drawing when using the butterfly needle.
8) The cost of the butterfly infusion set is triple (3x) the cost of the straight needle , which is quite expensive.