color tubes and their laboratory uses

Understanding Color Tubes and Their Laboratory Uses

In medical procedures, different types of blood collection color tubes are used to collect and analyze blood samples. Let’s explore the main types and their purposes.

1. Red Top color Tubes:

These Red color tubes are used to collect blood for various tests. The red stopper indicates that no additives or anticoagulants are present. After the blood clots naturally, the serum is separated for tests such as liver function and hormone analysis.

2. Lavender Top Tubes:

These purple color top tubes contain an anticoagulant called EDTA. They are used for hematology tests, including complete blood counts (CBC) and blood cell differentials.

3. Light Blue Top Tubes:

These tubes have sodium citrate, an anticoagulant. They are crucial for coagulation studies and tests like prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT).

4. Green Top Tubes:

Heparin tubes, with their green color tops, are used for tests requiring plasma samples. Heparin prevents blood clots and is used for tests like electrolyte panels and arterial blood gases (ABG).

5. Gray Top Tubes:

Gray tops are used for glucose testing. They contain sodium fluoride to preserve the blood sample and prevent glycolysis, ensuring accurate glucose measurements.

6. Yellow Top Tubes:

These Yellow color tubes are used for blood cultures to detect and identify microbial infections. Different additives are used depending on the targeted microorganism.

7. Royal Blue Top Tubes:

These specialized Royal blue color tubes are used for trace element and toxicology testing, measuring heavy metals like lead and mercury.

8. Conclusion

Understanding the different types of blood collection color tubes and their purposes is essential for accurate and reliable test results in healthcare settings. By using the appropriate tube for each specific test, healthcare professionals can ensure the integrity of blood samples and obtain precise diagnostic information.


Listed in Order of Draw for Blood Collection Tubes and Syringe Collections.

Light BlueSodium Citrate2.7-4.5 mLCoagulation studies: Prothrombin Time (PT), Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (APTT)
RedNone7.0 mLSerum tests: Chemistry, Immunology, Serology
Gold or Tiger TopGel Separator and Clot Activator6.0 mLSerum tests: Chemistry, Immunology, Serology
GreenSodium Heparin, Lithium Heparin, or Ammonium Heparin5.0 mLPlasma tests: Chemistry, Blood Gas Analysis
Lavender or PurpleEDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid)2-4 mLHematology tests: Complete Blood Count (CBC), Blood Cell Differentials
PinkEDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid)3-6 mLBlood bank tests: Blood Typing, Crossmatching
GraySodium Fluoride and Potassium Oxalate2-10 mLGlucose tests: Blood Sugar Level, Diabetes Monitoring
Royal BlueHeparin, EDTA, or None7.0 mLToxicology tests: Heavy Metal Analysis, Trace Elements
YellowSPS (Sodium Polyanethol Sulfonate), ACD (Acid Citrate Dextrose), or None8.5 mLMicrobiology tests: Blood Cultures, Bacterial Identification

10. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Can the color of the blood collection tube affect test results?

A: Yes, different color tubes have specific additives or anticoagulants that can interfere with certain tests. It is crucial to use the appropriate tube for each specific test to ensure accurate results.

Q: Are there other colors of blood collection tubes apart from the ones mentioned?

A: Yes, there are other colors available for specific purposes or specialized tests. However, the ones mentioned in this article are the most commonly used and widely recognized.

Q: Can healthcare professionals use any tube for collecting blood samples?

A: No, it is important for healthcare professionals to follow proper protocols and use the appropriate tube based on the specific tests being conducted. Using the wrong tube can lead to inaccurate results or sample contamination.

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