Specimen Collection

  • Always identify the patient prior to collecting samples by verifying the patient's full name and billing (encounter) number.
  • If a sample is drawn from a line, at least 10 ml of blood must be drawn and discarded before the test sample is drawn.  If heparin is used to flush the line, an equal amount of blood must be drawn and discarded before the test sample is drawn. It is recommended NOT to draw a PTT from a heparin flushed line.
  • All tubes should be completely filled to the volume indicated on the label.
  • Follow the correct order of draw when using evacuated blood collection tubes.
  • A waste tube should be used to clear air from butterfly tubing when collecting a blue top first.

    All tubes must be inverted gently for at least 8 times at collection. Gold top tubes must be allowed to clot at least 15 minutes prior to centrifugation.

    DO NOT COLLECT SAMPLES FOR THERAPEUTIC DRUG MONITORING IN ANY TUBE THAT CONTAINS A GEL SEPARATOR. (I.E. GOLD TOP)

  • Use aseptic technique when collecting blood samples, particularly if you are collecting blood cultures.  Always allow the cleansing solution to dry prior to performing the venipuncture.
  • Appropriately label all samples with:
    *  the patient's first and last name
    *  a unique identifier (last four digits of Social Security Number, Date of Birth, etc.)
    *  date and time specimen was collected
  • Do not remove the tops of vacutainer tubes.  Do not transfer blood from one tube to another.  Do not vigorously shake vacutainer tubes once they are filled with blood.
  • Do not send samples to the laboratory in syringes with needles still attached.
  • Please call the laboratory prior to drawing the blood for any test not included in the Laboratory Procedures List.

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