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Glossary Terms

ABG: a common blood test used to analyze the contents of the blood. it stands for arterial blood gas.

Anatomy: the study of the structure of the body.

Anaerobic: testing of the blood for a specific type of bacteria.

Antecubital: the front part of the patient’s elbow. it is a common site for blood drawing.

Anticoagulant: a substance, such as a medication, that works to prevent the blood from clotting.

Antiseptic: a substance that prevents bacteria from growing or developing.

ASCP: the American Society for Clinical Pathology. they provide certification examinations, continuing education courses, and other resources for both new and experienced phlebotomists.

Asepsis: sterile; free of microorganisms.

Aspirate: removing the blood from the vein.

Basilic: the vein that is located on the section of a patient’s arm nearest his body.

Blind Stick: this is the technique used on patients whose veins are not clearly visible.

Butterfly Needles: smaller, shorter needles used in phlebotomy procedures when patients have smaller-than-average veins. drawing blood from children often requires the use of butterfly needles, but they are sometimes used for adults, also.

Centrifuge: a laboratory apparatus used to separate the blood.

Circulation: the movement of the blood throughout the body. the bodily system where this takes place is known as the circulatory system.

Clot: when a patient’s blood coagulates, it forms a mass, referred to as a clot.

Coagulation: the process where the blood thickens, and begins to form clots.

CBC (complete blood cell count): this measures the white blood cell count, red blood cell count, white cell differentials, hematocrit, hemoglobin, platelet count, and other blood components.

Differential: the percentage of each particular form of white blood cells present in the patient’s blood.

EDTA: a compound used for the purpose of thinning the blood when it is tested in the laboratory.

Embolism: when the artery is blocked by either air bubbles or a blood clot.

Fast: to refrain from consuming any food, and often liquid, also. depending upon the nature of the testing, patients may be advised by their physicians to fast for a specific period of time prior to a blood test.

Glucose: the sugar in a patient’s blood.

Hemoglobin: protein in the patient’s red blood cells. its purpose is to carry oxygen from his lungs throughout his body.

Heparin: a medication used to prevent clotting of the blood.

Hypodermic Needles: hollow needles.

Needle Gauge: hypodermic needles can be found in a number of different sizes. the needle sizes used in phlebotomy procedures are 21, 23, and 25.

Order of draw: blood must be drawn in a specific order to ensure the accuracy of the laboratory tests. this process is called the order of draw.

Palpate: in some patients, veins do not stay visible enough for the phlebotomist to gain accurate information about the vein’s status. in these cases, the phlebotomist determines the vein’s status by hand.

Pathogens: a virus or bacteria capable of causing illness or disease.

Peripheral Blood: blood that has moved through the circulatory system opposite a patient’s heart.

Phlebotomist: a person who has been trained to draw blood for laboratory testing.

Phlebotomy: a minor surgical procedure where a patient’s vein is punctured or opened in order to draw blood.

Physiology: the phase of science which covers the parts and functions of living beings.

Platelet: a component in blood which contributes to clotting.

RBC (red blood cells): the component of the blood responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.

Sclerosis: hardening of the arteries.

Sharps: a term sometimes used to refer to hypodermic needles and other objects used in medical procedures which require special safety precautions for disposal in order to avoid accidents and transmitting bacteria or disease.

Tourniquet: in phlebotomy, this is a band used to stop blood flow in the vein.

Vacutainer: a registered system of supplies used in phlebotomy procedures.

Venipuncture: puncturing the patient’s vein. in phlebotomy, this is done for the purpose of extracting blood for laboratory testing.

Venous: refers to the veins.

Venous Blood: blood which has moved throughout a patient’s capillaries, and is located in his heart, arteries, and veins.

Warfarin- Coumadin. Warfarin is a prescription medication. Its purpose is to keep the blood thin, in order to prevent clotting. It is primarily given to patients who have various types of heart conditions, or have had heart surgery. Coumadin is a popular brand-name of Warfarin.

WBC (white blood cells): also known as leukocytes, they are the essential part of a patient’s immune system.

White Cell Count: the test which determines how many leukocytes are present in the patient’s blood.

Whole Blood: blood which has not had any of its components removed.

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