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blood test on mastectomy patients
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blood test on mastectomy patients

1) I work in the laboratory....if the patient had a left breast mastectomy done in the past....are we allowed to draw blood from that same arm  or will it affect the results?.......and if we are alowed to draw, how soon after the surgery?

2) Are we also allowed to draw blood while the patient is having a blood transfusion?...or should we wait till after?.....will it  affect the lab results?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,

There is no contraindication to drawing a blood sample in either of the two cases and also no specific timing alloted too.

There would be no alteration in the readings of any of the blood tests values in all probability.

Let us know if you have any other doubts.

Regards.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,
  
When my Mom had her mastectomy in 2000 and all of her lymph nodes taken out of that arm, they told her that for the rest of her life they could not take blood out of that arm or take her blood pressure on that arm.  The surgeon said that there is a small chance that you could get an infection in that arm (from the needle *****) because you don't have any lymph nodes in that arm to protect you.  Is this true?  They made a big deal about it in the hospital and put a sign by her bed (even when she was hospitalized 2 years later for another issue).  Maybe it's only when they've done a mastectomy and taken out your lymph nodes?

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326352_tn?1310997895
Once the lymph nodes are removed there is a probability that an infection can/will occur in the affected arm/area.  So, therefore you shouldn't do anything that would endanger the arm and present infection.  The lymphatic system is what flushes out fluids and infections.

However, having said that...in cases where you cannot get blood from anywhere else (ie running out of veins in the good side), you can take a chance (knowing that there is a possibility of infection) and draw from that side where the lymph has been removed.  I've done it once, only because I had already had the other side tapped so much that day.  I have REALLY good veins in the hand of that side and was confident that one stick would be all it could take.  I did this fully knowing that there could be an infection in that side that could be difficult to cure because of the impaired lymphatic system.

It is not recommended.  but neither is using cuticle cutters or getting sun-burned or having a cat scratch that side, all of which I have done.  You just need to know the possibility exists and do so with utter care of the arm.

This only applies if the lymphatic system has been altered (sentinal nodes included or all of them removed).  Lymphedema is a ******** to deal with.  
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326352_tn?1310997895
PS... also the reason a blood pressure cuff should NOT be used on the affected arm.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,

Yes Ihughes is right. If a lymph node removal has been done the chances of infection are high and then you have to be over cautious.

In that case, your doctor will tell you all the precautions you need to take and things you need to do and to avoid to prevent lymphedema.

Otherwise, there is no absolute contraindication.

Let us know if you have any other doubts and post us about any other query that you might have.

Regards.
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