A little while ago, I had my blood drawn for lab work. They were only filling a small vial with it, but even so the nurse had a hard time getting enough blood to flow into the vial. What could cause this to happen?

  • Have you seen IZombie? Mabye you are a zombie too! Oct 29 '16 at 18:16

Getting needles into veins successfully and without damaging them is a difficult skill, and like most skills it has many factors influencing it, not the least of which is experience. With some people it's very easy. For example, athletes with minimal body fat and large, bulging veins are usually trivially easy, but the obese are usually difficult because their veins are hidden under layers of fat. And children and infants are another story altogether.

Possible reasons why that nurse had a hard time:

  • You have small veins
  • Your veins are anatomically deeper than normal
  • You are overweight
  • You are elderly and have fragile veins
  • Vein calcification
  • You have low blood pressure, making your veins small and hard to find
  • Dehydration
  • You have dark skin, making them hard to see
  • The nurse had little experience
  • The nurse had plenty of experience but just sucks at it

Sorry about that last entry but it's a possibility. I've trained a lot of medics to start IVs and the fact is some people just don't have the aptitude for it and never get good at it no matter how much they practice.

  • Possibly dehydration as well?
    – L.B.
    Nov 29 '16 at 18:13
  • 1
    @L.B. That's kind of covered by low BP but it's worth mentioning anyway so added. Thanks.
    – Carey Gregory
    Nov 30 '16 at 4:48

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