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Venipuncture is a very interesting and special procedure used in gaining intravenous access for the sole intention of intravenous therapy and the sampling of venous blood. It is a process that involves the drawing of blood. Well, there are three main arm veins used to draw blood. The arm veins used for drawing blood include: median cubital vein, cephalic vein and basilic vein. Among these, the median cubital vein stands the first choice for drawing blood. The cephalic vein is the second choice, followed by the basilic vein in that order. The basilic vein is usually the most prominent vein although it sometimes tends to roll very easily and makes the venipuncture process difficult. Thus, blood is mainly drawn from the median cubital vein (Pruett et al., 2001). This vein lies within the cubital fossa interior region to the elbow. The median cubital vein lies close to the skin surface and there is not a big nerve supply.
The median cubital vein is normally a superficial vein of the arm. It links to the basilic and cephalic vein. There is a fair degree of variation of the median cubital vein. The most common pattern is the H-pattern with the basilic and cephalic veins forming the sides. Other kinds include M-pattern where the vein branches to the basilic and cephalic veins. The basilic vein, on the other hand, is also a huge surface vein of the upper limb. It helps drain some parts of the forearm and the hand. It starts from the ulnar (medial) area of the dorsal venous network of the arm, and moves up the base of the arm and the forearm. Most of the basilic vein’s course is superficial. It normally moves in the subcutaneous fat as well as other fasciae that lie on the surface to the muscles of the upper edge. That is why it is normally visible by the skin.
Just near the area anterior to the cubital fossa, in the elbow joint bend, the basilic vein normally links with another large surface vein of the upper extremity, the cephalic vein through the median cubital vein. The superficial veins’ layout in the forearm is exceedingly variable from an individual to another and there are generally a number of other superficial veins without names that communicates with the basilic vein. Almost halfway up on the arm proper which is usually the area between the elbow and the shoulder; the basilic vein classically goes deep, moving under the muscles (Pruett et al., 2001). Here, around the lower border region of the teres major muscle, the posterior and anterior circumflex humeral veins feed in it, merely before it connects to the brachial veins to make up the auxiliary vein.
The cephalic vein is also a superficial vein found in the upper limb. It communicates through the median cubital vein with the basilic vein at the elbow. Cephalic vein is located in the surface fascia along the anterolaterla surface of the very biceps brachii muscle. The cephalic vein superiorly passes between the pectoralis major and deltoid muscles and by the deltopectoral triangle at a point where it empties into the axillary vein (Pruett et al., 2001). The cephalic vein is normally visible through the surface of the skin, and its situation in the deltopectoral groove is somewhat consistent and hence this site is a good region for cannulation. Moreover, the cephalic vein can also be used for venipuncture if it happens that the medial cubital vein of a given individual cannot be used.
From this topic on blood draw I have realized that not all blood vessels can be used for blood draw. The drawing of blood through the venipuncture process targets specific areas. It more so takes place in the superficial veins as highlighted in the case of medial cubital vein, cephalic vein and basilic vein on the arm. Apparently, blood can only be drawn from the vein vessels that lie closely to the surface of the skin. There is always an alternative to the main blood vessel that can be used to draw blood. These blood vessels have more or less similar properties and these stand out as the ideal characteristics for them to qualify for the process of drawing blood from human beings.