Blood tests...finger prick -vs- venous sample - Thyroid UK

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Blood tests...finger prick -vs- venous sample

LV2475 profile image
20 Replies

Hi there,

Is the finger prick test as effective as a venous sample do you think? I know from work (as a paramedic) that sweat for example can affect some measurements.

Don’t want to waste money on a finger prick test if it’ll give my GP an excuse to disregard the results.

Thank you in advance.

20 Replies
SeasideSusie profile image


If the fingerprick test is done as per instructions, there is no problem. I have done a fingerprick and GP test within 2 days of each other, under the same conditions (same time early morning - 9am, fasting and leaving off Levo for 24 hours). The results were virtually identical.

The instructions tell you to wash your hands beforehand, there are alcohol wipes included in the kit, and a supply of new lancets, so there is nothing to contaminate the sample if you follow instructions.

But, if you have any concerns, as a paramedic could any of your colleagues in the health service do a venous blood draw for you?

LV2475 profile image
LV2475 in reply to SeasideSusie

Thank you - that’s great to know. Yes, they certainly could but not sure that’s allowed sadly.

My GP generously allowed me one T3 test but no more, and would not entertain Reverse T3 so I’ll be getting private tests once I get paid.

MaisieGray profile image
MaisieGray in reply to LV2475

I doubt that an NHS employer can concern itself with one friend with the necessary skills to draw blood, drawing blood from another friend in their own time, at their behest and with their consent. It's nothing to do with the NHS so long as it's outside working hours and not using NHS supplies.

silverfox7 profile image

When I worked with medical students we told them never to squeeze blood out but let it flow naturally so a blood draw is preferable to squeezing it out on a finger prick. But as SeasideSusie says if the finger prick is used correctly then that's fine as well.

TSH110 profile image

A friend did venous sample Thyroid ultra 11 GP still refused to accept it and insisted on a much less comprehensive blood test 🙄 and was then able to avoid giving her a trial of Levothyroxine because the results were lower.

Angel_of_the_North profile image
Angel_of_the_North in reply to TSH110

Some Endos and GPs disregard any blood test they didn't order. Nothing you can do about that except change to a doctor with more of a clue.

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to Angel_of_the_North

I told her that, but she seems to think this incompetent is a good doctor 🙄 I think she is hopeless and has zero understanding of thyroid disorder. She is an intelligent person but where her own health is concerned she would believe any clap trap the medics tell her rather than face up to the evidence firmly pointing towards hypothyroidism. Her life is in tatters after years of suffering and she is is in what seems to be a state of denial. My mother was one of those she nearly suffocated to death with the goitre she hid under poloneck jumpers whilst pretending all was fine. The only thing missing are the antibodies but I think up to 30% never test positive for them and end up with all the progressive thyroid tissue destruction anyway. Even if antibodies were found in abundance a lot of medics would still think it irrelevant to anything let alone the actual thyroid disorder they pertain to. It is her life and her decision to accept what they tell her but I would be asking serious questions as to why I was still ill after over a decade with a shed load of typical hypo symptoms and abnormal thyroid hormone panels, after endless tests and examinations for a plethora of other suspects....all of which reveal nothing.

You can take a horse to water and all that....

Angel_of_the_North profile image
Angel_of_the_North in reply to TSH110

Some people are like that. My mother was. although she had multiple degrees and was otherwise intelligent and logical.

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to Angel_of_the_North

It must be a facet of the disorder. I had the most dreadful symptoms initially I questioned as to them being thyroid related given how my mother had been but I did not have a goitre and I was like a rake. I had one test and was told it was normal, which of course I believed (no real internet then it was only just beginning, getting a works email address was the height of cool - ha ha I am so glad I don’t have one of those any more!) I had even read a small paperback book about hypothyroidism and all my symptoms fitted exactly to what it said. I began to think I was just a hypochondriac because the blood tests proved nothing was wrong physiologically. I struggled on with all sorts of horrible symptoms getting each one treated as a one off. I presume the bouts of hyper and vague normalisation as the hormones swung back and forth but mainly to the hypothyroid end allowed me to keep my act together and carry on believing it was all menopause related. I was in and out of the doctors so much I thought I was psychologically disturbed at times! But some things were physical and did register on tests - heart problems for example, but still ignored as old lady problems 🙄 I was right about the hypothyroidism as I found to my great cost finally getting the tests I needed and treatment just in the nick of time. So I have had my fair share of denial too when I think about what I put up with now it astounds me that I did not twig these things were serious and highly abnormal, and failed to seek medical help, but in the last two years I just have up on doctors save for sick notes for work with things like bronchitis which plagued me. It had all become quite normal to me I suppose. I rarely get ill now with flu like stuff, but do get odd niggles. I could hardly move this morning when I woke but once I got going the aching bones stopped hurting and I did a really good time (for me) at parkrun! Bonkers eh?

lozzie84 profile image
lozzie84 in reply to TSH110

I'm finally doing private tests and this forum had helped me realised I'm not a hypercondriac. (I still might be!)

I'm 34 and since I was 17 I've had every illness you can imagine. Shingles, bronchitis and do many ear infections. I had a triple break on my ankle which is rare but was a feak accident.

I know there is something wrong :/ but I'm continuously messed around by different gps.

My mom and 2 aunt's all have thyroid issues too, as you can imagine I'm completely exasperated.

I'm just hoping that the medicheck thyroid blood tests shows something. My last NHS test showed a TSH 3.00

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to lozzie84

Shingles is not caused by hypochondria neither are broken ankles, bronchitis or a TSH of 3 these are very real medical conditions with a physical not a mental health cause. A TSH of 3 is not normal in any other country bar UK you would be treated for hypothyroidism with that reading. I thought I was a hypochondriac but I was nothing of the sort

I was simply suffering from hypothyrodism. Like you it is common in my family and it often runs in families. Why GP’s choose to disregard this important fact eludes me. They appear to have little or no understanding of autoimmune disease. I am sorry you have suffered like this and so young. I hope you get a decent GP who is able and wiling to give you thyroid hormone replacement therapy. It seems unjust that the only thing that separates us from prompt action is that of geography and having the misfortune to live in the uk (from the aspect of the worst thyroid disorder care policy in the world)

Hashihouseman profile image

Because of a cynical endocrinologist I did fingerprick tests within minutes of having a sample drawn by the NHS practice nurse and was able to compare the results for the same indicators with the endocrinologist a week later. He could not split the difference! Also I do not think so many organisations would offer fingerprick tests if the results could be easily dismissed or criticised.

JCMK profile image

I got my GP practice nurse to draw blood with my first test. She was happy to do it as she was doing my bloods for the GP also. I didn’t show my results to GP as it was for my own interest. The second time I selected finger prick test, I followed the instructions. All I ended up with was 5 very sore fingertips (4 from the little finger pricks 1 from the cat deciding to stick his claw in my thumb!), I did not get enough blood and Medichecks said there was another issue. They have sent me another kit and when I go back this month for my vitamin d check I will see if the nurse will get some blood for me again. A lot of people do have success though with finger prick tests.

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to JCMK

I remember giving blood when I was very overtly hypothyroid (undiagnosed) and the head vampire...sorry nurse had to wrestle some out of me because no one else could get a so much as a drop from my veins in fact even finding a vein was a major challenge. My iron was dodgy but not dodgy enough to turn me away. Getting the line in was an ordeal even for no 1 🧛‍♀️ /👩‍⚕️ I laid there in agony and it took forever to get that pint out revealed by the fact I was now in with the second lot of doners on the tables I had a lot of very weird thoughts lying there (1st time to give blood) it was very surreal. I had to rest for ages after with tea and biscuits, before teetering off. Get this - the blood I gave was useless because of very high levels of malaria antibodies (I had malaria 25 years previously and no relapses!) and I am not ever going to be suitable for it. When you are hypo I understand that the blood volume drops which would explain my body’s reluctance to give any up at all!

LV2475 profile image
LV2475 in reply to TSH110

Wow I did not know that about blood interesting. Another joyous sign. 🙈

Also the malaria antibodies...crazy. At least you don’t have to go through the ordeal again...every cloud!

dinglebell profile image

It is easy to do a draw yourself with a third hand (friend!) It is the thought of it that is scary, I think. If you follow the instructions it is straightforward and afterwards what was all the fuss about... The only thing was that afterwards my friend had to lie down😏 didn’t hurt at all and I have had loads of ‘health care professionals’

do it and it was really sore and bruised me too.

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to dinglebell

Ha ha this made me laugh - your poor friend!

LV2475 profile image

Thanks everyone...take it that means the kits come with everything you need to get a venous sample then? It was the using the nhs stuff I was concerned about.

SeasideSusie profile image
SeasideSusieAdministrator in reply to LV2475

If you order a venous kit then you get everything you need.

"We send you everything the phlebotomist will need to take your sample."

LV2475 profile image
LV2475 in reply to SeasideSusie

Brilliant, thanks.

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