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What is the difference between finger prick and phlebotomy blood test?

A phlebotomy blood sample (also known as venous) is where the blood is collected from the vein. A finger prick blood test (also known as capillary) is one that is collected from the finger using a lancet that pricks the finger with a small, sharp needle.

Both phlebotomy and finger prick blood samples are accurate ways of measuring your body’s key biomarkers. Historically, most blood analysis has been conducted using samples taken from a vein.

However, finger prick blood testing has long been used to measure blood glucose levels when monitoring diabetes throughout the world and also capillary blood testing is used in neonatal units for young babies. Many healthcare organisations are now looking towards finger prick collection as it can be done remotely and is, therefore, more efficient and convenient.

As each follows a different method of blood extraction it is unlikely that the result would be identical, just as if you sent the same venous sample to be analysed at two different labs the result would not be identical. However, data research untaken in collaboration with the University of the West of England found there to be very little difference between venous and capillary sample types.

If you want to monitor your biomarkers we would recommend that you keep with the same methodology as reducing the variables will allow you to establish an accurate trend.

Last Updated: January 4, 2024

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