Some evidence exists that in term neonates, skilled venipuncture may result in fewer total punctures and less pain than heel stick. A Cochrane review first published in 1999 and updated in 2011 suggests that it may in fact be the procedure of choice in this population.
[ 3 ] However, these results may not be extrapolatable to preterm infants or infants who require multiple or frequent blood sampling.
[ 4 ] In addition, the development of newer, more effective, and less painful lancing devices may increase the relative utility of heel stick.
The neonatal heel prick is a blood collection procedure done on newborns. It consists of making a pinprick puncture in one heel of the newborn to collect their blood. This technique is used frequently as the main way to collect blood from neonates. Other techniques include venous or arterial needle sticks, cord blood sampling, or umbilical line collection. This technique is often utilized for the Guthrie test , where it is used to soak the blood into pre-printed collection cards known as Guthrie cards.