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Blood draw, sharp pain, no hematoma. EMG needed?

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Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 504 Questions
Possible nerve injury?
Hello Dr,

Yesterday I had a blood draw. The phlebotomist drw blood from my Rt.Arm. She was able to acess my vein in 1 poke, She drew blood from the lateral part of my elbow. I had no pain when she drew blood. After 2 mins, when I was leaving I had a sharp pain on the inner(medial aspect) of my elbow where I was laying my elbow to rest on the draw table. I had no pain around the area where she drew blood, no hematoma. However since then I have troble flexing my arm (sharp pain) and also have a feeling of weakness in my rt. arm. However I tried lifting heavy weights with just my rt hand and able to perform all ranges of motion. I have mild(if any) numbness in some fingers. I do not have any twitching or burning pain. Is there a possibility of a nerve injury? Is there any nerve near the surface of the lateral part of arm. The blood draw needle has left a small XXXXXXX 1 cm below the lower crease XXXXXXX on the elbow on the lateral side (to help you locate the anatomy). The symptoms of pain have been on the medial side whereas the blood draw was on the lateral side.

Do I really need an EMG done? The phlebotomist was experienced and she is liscensed. I did not have a sharp pain when she accesed my vein.

Any explanation for my symptoms?

Posted Tue, 22 May 2012 in Multiple Sclerosis
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 18 hours later

Thanks for the query

From the clinical details I personally feel your symptoms of pain, numbness and right arm weakness are not related to phlebotomy. Nerves of the upper limb like median, radial and the ulnar nerves pass across the elbow joint, but none near the lateral part of the elbow.

So I personally feel your symptoms are not due to complication of phlebotomy. The occurrence of your symptoms could be just co-incidental during or just after the phlebotomy. If your symptoms persist beyond 48 hours you need to see your Neurologist for good clinical examination and consultation. For time being you can try pain killers like brufen or aspirin for the pain.

I thank you again for submitting your question. I hope you find my response to be both helpful and adequate. If you have any additional concerns regarding your question I would be happy to address them.


Dr Shiva Kumar R
Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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