Thyroid UK
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Fingerprick test: why not the earlobe?

I've just ordered my fingerprick tft just in time to read the post about how sore your fingers get, and when I did a site search (to reassure myself lol) I found a post where someone recommended taking the blood from the earlobe.

Now Idk if you've ever had your earlobe snipped during a haircut, but it does bleed like b*****y, and there are fewer nerve endings there. It seemed a good idea, but of course the testing company don't recommend it. Why? Because the lab recommends the fingertip.

I googled it a bit and opinion seems divided between those who think it makes no difference if you do it that way every time and those who think it makes no difference. I understand that blood glucose can be a bit different because it is used in your tissues or some such thing, but does that apply to tft? (Anyway, apparently the earlobe is sometimes used to take blood for glucose testing anyway in cases where it's not practical to use the finger, so is that incompetence or practicality?)

If I had a spare £70 I'd do a comparison, but...

Does this fall under the category or 'We do things this way because this is the way we do them' or is there an actual compelling reason? Anyone know? TIA.

4 Replies

I'm struggling to figure out the logistics of bleeding one's earlobe into a tiny tube, though. At least with my fingers I can aim them close to the top and drip into it!


Apparently the flow is so good you get nice fat drops and with the aid of a mirror it's easy to get it all where it should be.

I had the haircut experience above and *so much blood* is just liberally flowing I can imagine it wouldn't be too bad.


I can just see me trying to juggle a mirror and coordinate! LOL. Also, getting those drops on the Vit D assay card - ever done one of those? Could end up more like a Rorschach ink blot pattern! :D


Hi puncturedbicycle , I'm guessing you were the catalyst of yesterday's office discussion regarding earlobes!

We erred on the side of caution (as you said, the lab say the finger and we take that line) in our recommendations but if it's published evidence you're looking for I don't think there is any.

Historically, when I was a practicing registered nurse as opposed to a desk bound unregistered one I was aware of earlobe extraction for tiny quantities for say a blood glucose, and of course lancets with microtainers have been used for newborn heel pricks for years looking for cystic fibrosis and other things.

If you do decide to give it a go, let us know all about it, but I'd get the help of a friend if I were you!


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