Types of Blood Collection Tube And Laboratory Uses

Blood Collection Tube

Vacutainer blood collection tube is a sterile and  plastic test tube with a colored rubber top stopper creating a vacuum seal inside of the tube, facilitating the drawing of a predetermined volume of liquid. For the example blood sample

Blood collection and storage is done in special tubes which allow the preservation of the blood sample over a long period and used for testing.

Vacutainer tubes may contain addictives to stabilize and preserve the specimen prior to analytical testing. There are different type of methods of blood collection, used for removal of blood.




Collection of the patent blood specimen to send the laboratory for testing, diagnostic and research.

Phlebotomy is a procedure in which a needle is used to take blood specimen from a vein, usually for laboratory testing.

Types of Blood Collection Tube

The Blood collection tubes contain different types of additives and which are specific for the individual test.

Blood Collection Tube

                        Blood sample tube

1. Blood Culture Bottle


Sodium Polyanethol sulfonate (anticoagulant) and Growth media for microorganisms.


Two bottles are typically collected in one blood draw; one for aerobic organisms and one for anaerobic organisms.


2. Light Blue Top Tube



Sodium citrate - 3.2% Sodium citrate  (anticoagulant)     

Test Used for:

a. Coagulation Screen

b. Bleeding time for platelets function

c. Prothrombin time for extrinsic pathway

d. aPTT (Partial Thromboplastin Time) for intrinsic Pathway

e. D-dimer test – for thrombosis: used to help check for or monitor blood clotting problems.

f. INR (International Normalized Ratio)  for monitoring patient on Warfarin

g. aPTT ratio- for monitoring patient on an IV Heparin infusion


3. Red Top Tube


No additive present

Mode of action: Blood clots and serum separated by centrifugal

Test Used for:

a. Chemistry

b. Immunology

c. Serology

d. Blood bank (cross-match)


4. Gold Top Tube (SST): Serum Separating Tube


This tube contain serum gel separator gel

Test used for

All Biochemistry test


5. Light Green Top Tube/ Heparin Tube


Sodium heparin or Lithium heparin (anticoagulant): prevent clotting

Test Used for

a. Chromosome testing

b. HLA typing

c. ammonia

d. lactate

e. Renin and Aldosterone


6. Purple Top tube/Lavender


Ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid (EDTA)



Test Used for:

Hematological examination like complete Hemogram:

a. CBC (complete blood count)

b. ESR ( Erythrocyte Sedimentation rate): measures how fast red blood cells fall to the bottom of a tube. Inflammation creates proteins in blood that make red blood cells (RBC) fall more quickly.

c. Reticulocytes (immature red blood cells)

d. Blood film for abdominal cells or malarial parasites

e. PTH( Parathyroid hormone)

f. Red cells folate (deficiency anemia is the lack of folic acid in the blood)

g. Monospot test for EBV (Epstein-Barr virus)



7. Pink Top Tube      



Ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid (EDTA)


Used only for Whole Blood, samples s being sent to the transfusion lab.


Test Used for:


a. Blood typing and cross-matching

b. Direct Coombs test for autoimmune haemolytic anemia

C. HIV viral load,

d. Group and save (G & S): sample processing


8.  Grey Top Tube


Tube containing two agents:

1. Sodium fluoride (glycolysis inhibitor): it is Antiglycolytic Agent

2. Potassium oxalate: anticoagulant agent

Test used for:     

a. Glucose, lactate testing

b. Glucose FBS (Glucose FBS)

C. GTT (glucose tolerance test)


 9. Yellow Top tube

Contain Acid-citrate-dextrose (anticoagulant)        


Test Used for

Tissue typing, DNA studies, HIV cultures

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