Instructions for setting up your phlebotomy training arm / IV practice arm.
Also included in the video:
- Instructions for taking care of your practice arm.
- Instructions for getting the most out of your practice arm.
Download the Microsoft Word .docx file Setting up the phlebotomy iv practice arm.
Download the PDF file Setting up the phlebotomy iv practice arm.
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Common Questions and answers:
I cannot get a flashback when I use the butterfly needles or the venous cannulas – do you have advice for me?
Certainly! When using the butterfly needle or the IV cannula, one should see a flashback of blood when successfully entering a vein/fake vein.
The flashback is not a function of the arm/mini-arm. It is not a lousy arm if you don’t get a flashback. The fake veins in the arms are hollow tubes – a bit like real veins.
A successful flashback is a function of the following:
- The venous pressure in the fake vein
- The gauge diameter of the needle
- The viscosity of the fake blood
- Successful entry into the vein with the needle
Let’s discuss these topics one at a time:
The venous pressure in the artificial vein
One can get a better flashback by raising the pressure in the fake vein. Do this by elevating the fluid reservoir bag by about 6 inches (15 cm) at a time.
The gauge diameter of the needle
A smaller diameter needle, e.g., 22 G and higher – gives a slow/weak flashback. A broader diameter needle – 21 G or lower – offers a better flashback. On the downside, large-diameter needles damage the fake veins more and limit the service time of the arm.
It follows that by using a larger diameter needle, one would see a better flashback.
The viscosity of the fake blood
The higher the viscosity, the lower the chances of getting a good flashback. If you use fake blood – it might be a problem as many fake blood recipes include corn syrup, making the blood quite viscous. Real un-clotted blood is fairly non-viscous. We recommend using tap water and a few drops of red food colorant to be used as fake blood. Clean thoroughly after each session of use.
Open the inflow roller and clip clamps (if applicable)
If any of the inflow clamps are closed – the venous pressure will stay close to zero – and you will not get a flashback.
Successful entry into the vein with the needle
No matter how high the venous pressure and how large-bore needle you use – if you haven’t penetrated the vein successfully – then you will never get a flashback! Suggestion – keep on practicing! Also, if you did not enter the fake vein successfully – then your vacutainer will lose its vacuum, and it will be spoilt.
Convert the set up into a “free-flow” system. Some additional measures that will help to get a positive flashback. If one converts the tubing into a free-flow system it will facilitate the flashback significantly. One need to extend the outflow tube and place the open side above the reservoir bag fluid meniscus – then one can leave the clip clamp in the open position during the phlebotomy workshop/procedure. A variation of this free-flow system is to allow the fake blood from the exit side of the arm to flow into an empty IV bag.