General Information

The patient must be positively identified when the blood specimen is collected. Identification of the patient is crucial to ensuring that the blood specimen is drawn for the correct patient.

The likelihood of error occurring in the area of collecting and handling specimens is probably greater than the likelihood of error occurring in the procedure itself. Much attention needs to be devoted to the process of collecting and handling specimens.

Assemble the necessary supplies for the Vacutainer®. The evacuated tube system is the most commonly used means of collecting specimens. This system is preferable to the needle and syringe since it allows the blood to pass directly from the vein to the evacuated tube. The evacuated tube system decreases the possibility of needlesticks, helps to eliminated some labelling errors and decreases the likelihood of inappropriate specimens.

It is important to not leave the tourniquet on for longer than one minute; to do so may result in either hemoconcentration or variation in blood test values.

For accurate test results, follow the proper Vacutainer® draw order. The following is an example of the most common draw order:

  1. Blue (citrate tube)
  2. Red
  3. SST (serum separator tube)
  4. Green (heparin)
  5. Lavender (EDTA)
  6. Grey (sodium fluoride)

Also, to eliminate tissue fluid contamination, it is suggested that 3 to 4cc of blood be drawn into sodium citrate tubes (blue) before filling sodium citrate tubes (blue).

Some tests require that blood specimens be cooled in ice water, placed in warm water, or protected from light immediately following the venipuncture in order to prevent metabolic processes which may cause alteration of some test values. Specimen handling instructions are included in the test list in this manual.

Use "universal precautions" at all times.

WITHOUT capping needles, dispose of the puncture unit in an appropriate Sharpes container. Bag each specimen as required by Infection Control policies and place in laboratory courier box at the nursing station.

Phlebotomy Service

The laboratory phlebotomy team makes routine adult and pediatric blood drawing rounds 7 days a week at 5 a.m.

Nursery rounds are at 7 a.m.

Laboratory phlebotomist are not available to procure Stat or Timed specimens.

Laboratory phlebotomist are instructed to procure specimen from properly identified patients only.  Morning phlebotomy rounds are compiled from orders placed in lab collection status prior to 4:45 a.m.

Clinical laboratory results can be obtained by contacting the Specimen and Report Center at 916-734-0500, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The patient's medical record number and the patient's full name are necessary in order to obtain clinical results.

Please access  UC Davis Health- Laboratory Test Directory | Home ( for any questions regarding ordering, collection, specimen stability, and result interpretation.

Phlebotomy Specimen Containers


  • 7 mL red
  • 6 mL gold (SST) silicone
  • 5 mL lavender EDTA
  • 5 mL green lithium heparin
  • 5 mL plastic
  • 4.5 mL blue citrate
  • 5 mL gray sodium fluoride
  • 2 mL light blue thrombin
  • 3 mL red
  • 3 mL lavender EDTA
  • 3 mL green lithium heparin
  • 1.8 mL blue citrate
  • 600 mL plastic silicone (SST)
  • 300 mL plastic
  • 700 mL lavender EDTA
  • 0.3 mL yellow sodium fluoride
  • 5 mL lavender silicone (Nichols tube)
  • 5 mL black Acidified sodium citrate

Please access  UC Davis Health- Laboratory Test Directory | Home ( for any questions regarding ordering, collection, specimen stability, and result interpretation.