Using the right tube for the right test
The tubes used for blood collection are in a vacuum which forces blood from the vein through the needle and into the tube. The various tubes are covered with a standardized color-coded plastic cap that indicates the additives that each tube contains. These additives can include anticoagulants (EDTA, sodium citrate, heparin), gels with intermediate density between blood cells and serum, or other substances that preserve certain chemicals or substances within the blood, which preserve the blood for processing in the medical lab.
We provide here a comprehensive list to ensure that the proper tube selection is made for its corresponding test, since using the wrong one may render the blood sample unusable.
|Blood Collection Tubes||Usage Method|
|Red-Top Tube:||This tube is a plain VACUTAINER® containing no anticoagulant, and its used for collection of serum for selected chemistry tests as well as clotted blood for immunohematology. Used for Serum or clotted whole blood. lot at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serum should be separated from cells within one hour of venipunture.|
|Red Serum Separator Tube (SST):||This gel barrier serum separator tube is used for Serum or clotted whole blood. After finalizing collection allow tube to clot at ambient temperature. Certain determinations may be invalidated by prolonged contact with cells, particularly glucose, enzymes, and electrolytes.|
|Lavender-Top Tube (EDTA):||This tube contains EDTA as an anticoagulant and its used for most hematological procedures. After tube has been filled with blood, immediately it must be inverted repeatedly and several times to prevent coagulation.|
|Grey-Top Tube (Potassium Oxalate/Sodium Fluoride):||This tube contains potassium oxalate , an anticoagulant, along with sodium fluoride as a preservative and its used to preserve glucose in whole blood and for some special chemistry tests. Note: After tube has been filled with blood, it must be inverted immediately and repeatedly to prevent coagulation.|
|Light Blue-Top Tube (Sodium Citrate):||This tube contains sodium citrate, an anticoagulant, and its used for drawing blood for coagulation studies. In its usage, its essential that the tube is fully filled. The ratio of blood to anticoagulant is critical for valid prothrombin time results. Immediately after draw, the tube must be inverted repeatedly and several times to activate the anticoagulant.|
|Dark blue Top Tube (Sodium Heparin):||This tube contains Sodium Heparin, an anticoagulant, and its used for trace metals analysis.|
|Green-Top Tube (Suheparin or Lithium Heparin):||This tube contains Suheparin or Lithium Heparin, and its to collect heparinized plasma, for plasma determinations in clinical chemistry. Once filled it must be inverted immediately and repeatedly.|
|Yellow Top Tube (1.0 ml ACD solution)||This tube contains a solution of acid citrate dextrose, which is used as an anti-coagulant. Once filled it must be inverted immediately and repeatedly.|
|Yellow/Red Speckled Top Tube (EDTA and Ascorbic Acid)||This tube is used to collect the blood Serotonin blood. Once used it must be mixed gently by immediately inverting the tube 10-12 times immediately and repeatedly.|
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