Reaction to blood tests?

Hello again,

Due to low wcc count I have been having weekly blood tests; last week the nurse I had wasn't as gentle as my usual, after a few attempts on my left arm she moved to the right, I told her my usual nurse said we weren't to use the right as the veins had gone hard but she went ahead, it was very painful and by the time I got to my car my arm was very swollen.

2 days later the swelling started to calm down but was left with severe bruising on whole lower arm, down to my wrist, was strange as the bruising appeared to follow the pattern of my veins.

So, yesterday, thank goodness I had my nice usual nurse and she managed it first time on left arm; but this morning I've woken up with swelling again but on my right arm!!!??? whats that all about, anyone else with this problem? the pain feels like I've had another test in right arm. Maybe it's RA thats causing it, I'm really unsure as I've been off mtx for a few week now...

Thanks :)

15 Replies

hi Wilibi I used to get blood tests without batting an eyelid However the last few years it seems to get harder for the nurse or doc to find a vein It must be old age lol I do remember one time after a blood test I had a very sore arm It was not swollen or bruised but very painful and weak This lasted for about 3 weeks

One thing I have found helpful is if you can get them to use the tiny butterfly thingy to take the blood the needle is very fine and much better I asked my consultant last week why they dont all use them Its down to cost. She said when she was training students she was amazed at how painless a blood test was with one of these so she tries to use them all the time

A nurse once told me that the v ein is surrounded by nerves and perhaps thats why arm is sore afterwards

The rotten thing is that I now get all tense when I get bloods done which probably doesnt help Hope your arm heals soon and see if you can persuade your nurse to go down the butterfly route next time lol


Hi bestnana

I too get all tense when I have blood tests. I dread the day a test is due. They have trouble finding a vein and sometimes when they do no blood comes out!

The worst day was when I had five plasters applied after attempts and finally they took it from my hand. Which they do not like doing. I usually have sure arms and bruises for several days after.

I understand that it gets more difficult as you get older?



Hi - I believe also the more blood tests you have to have (ie lots in all of our cases), the veins sometimes 'collapse' and it's difficult to get blood out. I had this problem with my left arm about 18 months ago when having a series of very regular (every couple of days) tests. They did try my left arm again a few months later but still couldn't get anything out of it...fortunately right arm still works. I have had one bad experience when I had bloods taken by GP (who obviously doesn't do it as often as the HCA), and was left with bruising all down my arm for a week, but didn't do as yours has and also didn't come back after having blood taken out of the other arm! That sounds very weird!


How weird! Never heard of that hope it's calming down. I was starting to have problems with blood tests, and was told that my blood was too sticky, but following advice from fellow HU'ers I now make sure I drink lots for the 12 hours before a test and fingers crossed haven't had as many problems. Px


thanks ladies! Bestnana, i'll ask about the butterfly thingy :)

gosh, i'm not too old (I don't think haha) at 39, goodness knows what they'll do by the time i'm 50 or 60!!

It is weird Heather and Polly, it's starting to get worse tonight and now spreading up arm towards shoulder, i'm pretty sure it's not RA as it's not the joint but everything in between, if it's still the same in the morning I'll maybe ring the nurse. Never heard of sticky blood but i'll remember to drink plenty in future.

Hope your all doing well and thanks again for the advice :) x


Hi Wiliby - Just to reassure you, my RA pain is usually between not in joints...usually between elbow & shoulder. Some days I can't move my arm enought to get out of my pj's! As an oldie I have the luxury of just resting and waiting for it to calm down, so throw all your little one toys on the floor and let him/her play away whilst you ignore the hoover and chill until it subsides,Kathy


Dear Wiliby

I have just had my 60th birthday so I am definitely worried that it will become more problematic to take blood!

Have a good day.

Sam 59x


Not so I am over 70 & have no probs. If I ever encounter a phlebotomist who messes up I ask to change to someone else.

It's your arm and you are in charge...........


Hi Wiliby

When you had the recent blood test with your usual nurse did you show her all the bruising etc on the left arm. If you are still having problems I would call in at the surgery and get someone to look at it, as it is not a usual thing to happen after a blood test. Hope it gets sorted soon. Let us know how you get on. Wendy x


I think you should see your GP. You could have inflammation of the veins - phlebitis - from your description. If so it needs treating now.


Hello again, thanks for the advice coming; I went to the doctor this morning and she said it was the RA, I pointed out that I wasn't having any other symptoms such as stiffness ect and that it wasn't in my joint, when she had another look she did agree that it felt hot to the touch and looked swollen, told me to with hold the mtx and ring as a matter of urgency if it became worse or if I felt un well.

When I googled veins-phlebitis Oldtimer, It does sound like that however I'm not sure why the doctor never considered that; I'm a bit shy on ringing them back, silly I know but if anything does happen I'll be straight on the phone.

Wendy, I did mention it to nurse and she just looked horrified and never responded, however I thought it was settling dowwn then.

yikes! i'll keep you posted :)


Oh dear keep us posted that isnt right your arms being like that x


thanks Alison, I'm in a bit of a muddle! I do feel worse but thats because the pain relief is waring off, will wait and see what happens tonight. No high temperature so I hoping thats a good sign :)

How are you keeping? busy? x


Hi Wilby i have nothing to offer in way of advice but i am thinking about you and hope it settles down


Thanks Mads, hope your doing better to x


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