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Clinical Biochemistry

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Tips for blood collection


Collection method

  • Use of straight needles is preferred, but a butterfly wingset may be used in difficult-to-bleed patients
  • Note that the collection of blood specimens through IV cannuale is associated with increased rates of haemolysis

Patient identification

  • Obtain minimum patient ID - name and date of birth - using open questions
  • Check details against printed EPR barcode labels


Infection control

  • Use Aseptic Non-Touch Technique
  • Single use tourniquet and blood collection tube holder

Collection tubes

  • Observing the correct order of draw will help prevent effects of contamination
  • Mix by gentle inversion once after each tube, then together at the end of the procedure
  • Refer to tube guide on the intranet

Collection technique

  • Use the correct fill volume - this is vital for citrate tube. Collect a discard tube if filling a citrate tube first when using a butterfly. This allows for the air space in the butterfly tubing to be filled with blood rather than being transferred to the tube
  • Do not leave the tourniquet on for an excessive length of time, as this can cause patient discomfort and compromise sample quality



  • Use in-vein activation of the butterfly safety device
  • Cover needle
  • Dispose of sharps in an appropriate sharps bin


  • Blood tubes must be labelled at the patient's side, immediately following venepuncture. Do not leave the patient's side to label the tubes
  • Tubes must be labelled with barcodes in the correct position/orientation - the barcode must be closest to the cap