Filling two Medichecks vials by finger prick ex... - Thyroid UK

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Filling two Medichecks vials by finger prick extraction of blood

Caroline888 profile image


Hi Susie,

I saw the post recently where you said you had done a finger prick blood test involving the filling of two vials and wondered if you had any particular tips for doing this.

Did you fill the vials one immediately after the other, or did you leave it for a while before proceeding to fill the second vial?

I have had mixed experiences with this process. The time before last I filled one vial easily with the use of only one lancet, whereas last time I had to use five lancets to extract enough blood for one vial! This despite drinking plenty of water, washing hands in hot water (several times) and doing lots of "windmilling" as per your earlier suggestion - much easier on the knees than running up and down the stairs!

I am determined to give this a go but any hints would be greatly appreciated.

Hope you are doing ok.

Best wishes


18 Replies
SeasideSusie profile image

Hi Caroline

I've only ever attempted to fill two vials on one occasion and it didn't go very well, so now I stick to one vial tests only. If I want to do the full thyroid/vitamin panel - Medichecks is Thyroid ULTRAVIT and requires 2 vials - I do the Blue Horizon version - Thyroid Check PLUS ELEVEN, which only requires one vial.

These are my tips

* Be well hydrated, drink plenty of water the day before, and before you do the test.

* Some people take a shower before hand, some run up and down the stairs to get blood flowing. Personally, as I can't run up and down the stairs, I circle my arm round, windmill style.

* Have a bowl full of hot water, dip hand in and out, swish around, hand needs to go red. If blood flow stops, you can always swish round in the hot water again.

* Stand up to do the test. Make sure your arm is straight down when collecting the blood. Either use a small step stool to raise yourself well above the work surface, or put the collection tube on a lowish shelf. MaisieGray mentioned that she uses an ironing board so you can put that at the appropriate level.

* Prick finger on the side, not the tip. I find that half way between the nail bed and tip is about right, or maybe slightly nearer the nail bed rather than the tip. I use my ring finger, but middle finger is next best for me.

* Do not squeeze your finger to get the blood out, it can damage the blood and it may not be usable

I've recently done 2 tests requiring one tube (not on the same day). The first one there was very little blood coming out which was unusual for me so I used a second finger and between the two I gradually filled the tube. However, when I checked the prick site for the first finger the actual cut was very small and as I've had some of these lancets fail before I put it down to that. When I did the second test at a later date this is what I did

* Prick my finger as usual, make a very slight twist with the lancet whilst blade is still in the finger. I'm not talking 90 degrees or anything, just a very slight twist to make the cut just slightly bigger, it doesn't hurt or cause a blood bath! This made a big difference, 11 generous drops of blood filled the tube in less 2 minutes.

Thanks Susie,

Thank you for replying to my post.

I particularly like the tip for twisting the lancet as, although the idea made me wince, I tried it last time following your suggestion and it really does work. And as you say it's not as bad as it sounds - it didn't hurt and at last I was able to fill the vial.

I am determined to have a go at filling the two vials this time but if there is any problem I will consider the Blue Horizon version in the future.

Thanks again for all your help; it's really appreciated.

All the best


I’ve had a similar experience to you with sometimes finding that it’s easy to fill very quickly and other times a struggle even with multiple lancet sites. I found the hardest times were (in hindsight seeing the test result) when my folate was low. Not saying this is the case for anyone else though, could be a coincidence.

I’ve quite easily filled 2 vials in one go before.

My advice would be to have a very hot bath beforehand. I find this seems to work best as it really gets your circulation going along with having your hand lower down to let gravity do its work :)

Thank you so much for replying.

It is really odd how different it can be each time we need to fill these vials. The time it was so easy, the blood just dripped out - I’m sure I could have filled at least two vials on that occasion as I had to use several plasters. However the site took a week to stop feeling tender whereas normally it only takes less than a day so I think I must have been rather more vigorous with the lancet than usual. Placing your finger on a table when pricking it with the lancet provides some counterpressure and perhaps makes the lancet penetrate more deeply. Also SeasideSusie’s tip of twisting the lancet just a little has a good effect.

I do like your idea of having a hot bath too and will certainly try that as well. Thanks for the tip.

I am determined to fill the two vials if at all possible. It is so convenient and I can always do the test at the same time of day which is obviously good for comparison purposes.

Thanks again for your advice.

Best wishes


Yeah it’s great when it comes out easily. Seems to be getting slightly better for me (on average) over time. Still sometimes have a little struggle but usually only use 2 lancets maximum per one vial.

Best of luck for your next time! :)

kahlan profile image
kahlan in reply to Foxtrot89

Funnily enough I often struggled, and the easiest time was when I had started supplementing for my anaemia and low folate.

Foxtrot89 profile image
Foxtrot89 in reply to kahlan

Ah that’s interesting!!

These viles are the bane of my life!! 😩 I had to order more viles and lancets 3 times to try and fill! I just clotted almost immediately! Could never get more than 2 drops and the first time I just squeezed too much and broke the blood cells rendering them useless 😩

Going forward I’ll have to pay for a blood draw, I can’t go through that stress a couple times a year 😩

in reply to NWA6

I try to leave any form of stress behind I have one test per year and always have the nurse call to my home the cost is £39.

Caroline888 profile image
Caroline888 in reply to

Hi Bunnyjean

I’m hoping practice makes perfect and that eventually I will master the technique!

I do it quite often at the moment due to dose changes and monitoring vitamin levels so I’m getting plenty of practice.

I agree we don’t need the stress so having a nurse do it is always there as a possibility.

Thank you for replying.

Hope you are doing well.

Best wishes


in reply to Caroline888

As you say practice makes perfect, good luck.

Caroline888 profile image
Caroline888 in reply to NWA6

I agree that it can be a stressful process but the more I do it the more confident I feel.

The first two times I did it, I panicked when the blood first appeared and failed to wipe away the first drop of blood with a tissue as instructed. I was in too much of a hurry to get the blood into the vial😟. However Medichecks were not too concerned about that when I phoned for advice.

It’s a bit of a palaver but so convenient if you can manage to do it. As I said in my original post, I used five lancets last time and every drop of blood appeared reluctantly! Still I did get there in the end.

Thanks for replying.

Take care.


lidoplace profile image
lidoplace in reply to NWA6

I paid for my surgery nurse (£22 pounds - the receptionist hadn’t encountered the charge before in spite of it being on their website) to find that the nurse was familiar with the kits so she had obviously done it before . Next time I will just make an appointment with her directly if it’s for a test the surgery won’t do ! Worth a try

Thanks for that! Always good to know there are options. I guess if I run into trouble with the finger prick tests, I could try the phlebotomist who normally takes blood for the NHS tests at a local surgery.

Glad you’ve found a convenient solution to the problem😊

Take care


Lilackeith profile image
Lilackeith in reply to NWA6

I had the same issue. I tried all the lancets and weeks later my finger is painful. My gp wont take the sample and i work far from the nominated surgeries but i will pay for a nurse next time

I tried it once with the help of a friend who is a retired nurse. She said she couldn't risk a venous blood draw because of not having done it for 10 years, so we tried the phials.

The main problem was getting the blood into the phials, they kept getting airlocked because of the narrowness of the opening! It was so slow to do this that the blood started clotting. Eventually we managed one phial, both with hands covered in gore with three sore fingers for me!

Never again! It's expensive, but the next time I paid for one at the hospital instead.

Caroline888 profile image
Caroline888 in reply to

Thanks for sharing your experience. I know what you mean about the blood clotting if it takes too long to get it flowing.

I haven't had much trouble filling one vial except on the last occasion when I needed to use 5 lancets to do the job properly😟.

I also suffer from essential tremor which makes the whole process so much fun! My tremor only occurs when trying to perform fine motor skills so it's certainly a handicap when aiming the drops of blood into the vial! However I don't plan on doing the two-vial blood test until the end of June. I'm just getting ahead of myself but feel it's good to be prepared.

My next blood test will involve only one vial so at least I have another chance to perfect my technique and hopefully give me the confidence to embark on the two-vial procedure. Fingers crossed anyway.

Thanks again for your reply.

Hope you are doing well.

Best wishes


Thank you for raising this issue. I've never done a finger prick blood test until about 5 weeks ago. It wasn't as easy as it looks or sounds. I pricked the pad at the top of my finger and the blood kept running down behind my nail. So I'll try pricking the side next time as one of your replies suggested. I wasn't expecting the process to be so stressful, I managed to get one phial three quarters full, my whole system was shaking and I was extremely irritated. They appeared to have enough to test - anyhow, reading your stream and replies has been very helpful. Best wishes and good luck

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