Comparison of phlebotomy needles
Background: Phlebotomy can be an uncomfortable and even painful experience that increases in likelihood in patients who require frequent blood draws, such as those with cancer. The 25-gauge BD Vacutainer® UltraTouch™ Push Button Blood Collection Set has a smaller outer bore needle size and unique bevel configuration, which in theory should reduce pain associated with phlebotomy. Smaller needles typically cause less pain, however, they have a higher incidence of compromising the specimen integrity. Innovative engineering allows this particular needle to maintain a larger inner bore size similar to a standard 23-gauge needle. This study compares pain and specimen integrity between this novel device and a standard 23-gauge needle.
Methods: Two cohorts of 190 patients each had phlebotomy performed with either needle. Pain experienced was assessed by patient surveys, rating pain from 0 (low) to 10 (high). Sample integrity was assessed by determining the hemolysis index (Abbott Architect c8000).
Results: No statistically significant difference in median pain scores was observed between the 2 cohorts, P-value: 0.068. The 23-gauge cohort more frequently reported 3+ pain than the 25-gauge cohort, 14/190 vs 5/190. Pain scoring 1 and 2 was more frequent in the 25-gauge cohort, 84/190 vs 54/190. Pain scores of 0 were more frequent in the 23-gauge cohort, 122/190 vs 101/190. This stratification is statistically significant, P-value: 0.003. The 25-gauge needle showed no increase in hemolysis rates, P-value: 0.5.
Conclusions: Sample integrity was identical between both needles. The 25-gauge needle resulted in less 3+ pain, while pain scoring 1 and 2 was more frequent in the 25-gauge cohort.
Kirchhoff D, Baser R, Kwong D, Ramanathan L, McCash SI. Comparison of a Novel Thin-Walled 25-gauge Needle Push Button Blood Collection Set to a Standard 23-gauge Needle in a Cancer Patient Population. J Appl Lab Med. 2023 Jan 21:jfac129. doi: 10.1093/jalm/jfac129. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36680315.