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In medicine, some blood tests are conducted on venous blood obtained by fingerprick. There are various ways of opening a small wound that produces no more than a few drops of blood. The procedure can be painful, but may be quicker and less distressing than venipuncture.

After a droplet has formed, venous blood is sucked up by a capillary (a thin glass tube), usually passively or sometimes by indirect suction.

Tests commonly conducted on capillary blood are:

  • glucose levels - diabetics often have a portable blood meter to check on their blood sugar.
  • hemoglobin levels - fingerprick testing of hemoglobin is a quick screening procedure to check if a blood donor or plasma donor has a high enough blood count to be allowed to donate blood or blood components.

Fingerpricks are sometimes done on children and the elderly, when only a small amount of blood (less than 500 μg) is needed for a test. Neonates (newborn babies) are given heelpricks instead, as this is less likely to cause permanent damage (and because babies have very small fingers).

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Fingerprick". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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