October 18, 1976

Cardiac Arrest Following Routine Venipuncture

Author Affiliations

Hewlett, NY

JAMA. 1976;236(16):1846-1847. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270170012013

To the Editor.—  In addition to the better known causes of reversible cardiac arrest,1 one must also list the vasovagal reflex induced by routine venipuncture as being potentially able to cause this. The following case illustrates this point.

Report of a Case.—  A 44-year-old woman was examined in the office on Feb 8, 1975, for a general checkup. She offered no particular complaints at that time. The patient returned to the office the following day, fasting, in order to undergo routine venipuncture for routine blood chemistry determinations and a complete blood cell count. Both the patient and her husband stated that she was always upset about having blood drawn and usually fainted when it was done. The patient held the belief that it is dangerous to her health to have blood drawn. An appropriate explanation was given, and as a precaution, the patient was placed in a recumbent position