How To Prepare continued...
No special preparation is needed for
children before having a bilirubin test.
Tell your doctor if
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you
have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what
the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test,
fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
Blood sample from a heel stick
For a heel stick
blood sample, several drops of blood are collected from the heel of your baby.
The skin of the heel is first cleaned with alcohol and then punctured with a
small sterile lancet. Several drops of blood are collected in a small tube.
When enough blood has been collected, a gauze pad or cotton ball is placed over
the puncture site. Pressure is maintained on the puncture site briefly, and
then a small bandage is usually applied.
Instead of the standard
heel stick, some hospitals may use a device called a transcutaneous bilirubin
meter to check a newborn's bilirubin level. This small handheld device measures
bilirubin levels when it is placed gently against the skin. With this device,
there may be no need to puncture the baby's skin. This is a screening test, and
a blood sample will be needed if your baby's bilirubin level is high.
Blood sample from a vein
The health professional
taking a sample of your blood will:
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to
stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is
easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick
may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is
- Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as
the needle is removed.
- Put pressure on the site and then put on a