Generalizability and Effectiveness of Butterfly Phlebotomy in Reducing Hemolysis

Douglas P. Barnaby, Andrew Wollowitz, Deborah White, Scott Pearlman, Michelle Davitt, Laura Holihan, Polly Bijur, E. John Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives The objective was to test the hypothesis that exclusive use of butterfly needles for phlebotomy, compared with sample collection via intravenous (IV) catheter, will reduce rates of sample hemolysis. Methods This was an observational study of hemolysis rates before and after implementation of a "butterfly-only" phlebotomy protocol. Weekly hemolysis rates, generated by the central laboratory, were collected and the proportion of hemolyzed specimens before and after protocol implementation were compared. Results Prior to institution of the butterfly-only protocol, 11.3% of specimens sent from the emergency department were reported as hemolyzed. During the postintervention period, only 4.3% of specimens were hemolyzed for a proportionate decrease of 62% and an absolute decrease of 7.0% (95% confidence interval = 6.6% to 7.3%). Conclusions Use of a butterfly-only phlebotomy protocol cuts hemolysis rates by more than half when compared with IV catheter phlebotomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-207
Number of pages4
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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