HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
Vacutainer holder reused
About This Forum:

This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

Vacutainer holder reused

Hi.
I had a blood test done at the hospital and I noticed some blood inside the vacutainer holder that is normal to reuse in my country. I regret that I didn't ask here to change it!!! I struggle with anxiety about blood borne viruses. I don't know if the blood was new or dried. It was one or two drops of blood on the side of the inside that I could see, but I didn't get to look that close so it might have been more.
She used a new needle and a new tube on me, it was just the plastic holder that was reused. Is there ANY chance that I could get hiv, hepatitis B or hepatitis C from this episode?

I read that with vacutainers the blood only flows out of me. Is there really no chance of any blood getting up in my bloodstream? Not a micro drop? Is this completely safe and there is absolutely no need for me to get tested? What if the nurse filled the tube full - can it flow up in the needle or is it still no blood getting up in the needle that is in my arm? What if the needle tip (covered side) touched some of the blood inside when it was screwed in the holder or that the tube collecting my blood got some blood on the top where the needle pierce the rubber when it was inserted in the holder. Can't think about anything else! I'm breastfeeeding my baby and I'm terrified I have been exposed to HIV or Hepatitis.
239123_tn?1267651214
Welcome to the forum.

I'm happy to confirm the accurate replies you had in the community forum. Vacutainer holders are designed to be re-used without risk of transmission of blood-borne infections. Most doctors, clinics, and labs would discard one that had visible blood, simply for esthetic reasons and to avoid alarming nervous patients like you.  But there was no risk and you need not be worried.  The senarios you describe would not allow contact of previous blood with your bloodstream, hence no risk.  (Please also ignore any other "what if" scenarios that might come to mind.  There none that are remotely realistic that would change my opinion or advice, so no point in asking.)

So don't worry further about it.  Don't tested for anything, continue to nurse your baby, and don't hesitate to continue unprotected sex with your regular partner, if you have one.  All is well.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD
4 Comments
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I still think a little about the episode and do have a problem understanding how not even a drop of blood can go up in my bloodstream. Especially if the tube got filled full. I heard that just a drop is enough to transmit.
Blank
239123_tn?1267651214
I think if you were to study a vacutainer holder and understand how it works, you would easily understand why "not even a drop of blood can go up" into a person's bloodstream.  The fact is that nobody in the world ever gets HIV from having blood drawn, unless the needle itself is re-used -- and that hasn't happened in the past 20-30 years, at least not in industrialized countries.

That will end this thread.  I won't have any further comments or advice.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Thank you :)
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
This Forum's Experts
239123_tn?1267651214
H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
469720_tn?1388149949
Blank
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-treatable... Blank
Oct 04 by Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank