Sampling with blood collection tubes

Storage and transport of capillary blood specimens

Maintaining specimen quality during storage and transport

  • Always consult institutional guidelines for storage and transport recommendations for the test being collected before beginning the procedure
  • Specimen storage requirements may depend on the type of collection tube, test being performed and testing instrumentation
  • Storage conditions may affect specimen stability1 and result accuracy; prolonged or incorrect storage may affect multiple results including glucose, lactose and capillary blood gases
  • Some specimens must be transported immediately after collection; transportation should be done at the appropriate temperature depending on the institution and the test
  • Specimens for serum or plasma testing should be centrifuged and separated within 2 hours2
  • Always ensure specimens are labelled immediately following collection and mixing
    and before leaving the patient’s side1
  • Specimen labels must include the patient’s last and first name, identification number, date and time of collection and collector identifier
Always consult institutional guidelines for storage and transport recommendations for the test being collected before beginning the procedure. Room temperature e.g. Complete blood count. Refrigerate e.g. Blood chemistries. On ice slurry e.g. Ammonia.

Expert Tip

Transport of blood specimens in the proper manner and at the correct temperature ensures the quality of the sample2

These materials have been produced in consultation with key opinion leaders and follow global guidelines, but the user should use his or her professional judgement when using any technique or method described in these materials and should take into account all applicable national, regional and institutional guidelines and regulations.

1. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) document GP42-A6 (former H04-A6): Procedures and Devices for the Collection of Diagnostic Capillary Blood Specimens; Approved Standard – Sixth Edition. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute; Wayne, Pennsylvania, USA: 2008. 2. Rana, S. V. (2012). No Preanalytical Errors in Laboratory Testing: A Beneficial Aspect for Patients. Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, 27(4), 319–321. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12291-012-0271-2