A blood test is a laboratory analysis performed on a blood sample that is usually extracted from a vein in the arm using a syringe, or via fingerprick.
Blood tests are used to determine physiological and biochemical states such as disease, mineral content, drug effectiveness, and organ function.
Venipuncture is useful as it is a relatively non-invasive way to obtain cells, and extra cellular fluid (plasma), from the body for analysis. Since blood flows throughout the body, acting as a medium for providing oxygen and nutrients, and drawing waste products back to the excretory systems for disposal, the state of the bloodstream affects, or is affected by, many medical conditions. For these reasons, blood tests are the most commonly performed medical tests.
Although the term blood test is used, most routine tests except for most hematology are done on plasma or serum.
Phlebotomists, laboratory technicians and nurses are those charged with patient blood extraction. However, in special circumstances, and emergency situations, paramedics and physicians sometimes extract blood. Also, respiratory therapists are trained to extract arterial blood for arterial blood gasses.
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