Blood Collection Tube Top Colors

Click on the stopper to get additional information

Light Blue top
Red top tube - Serology and Immunohematology
Red top tube - Chemistry
Light Green top or Green top
Lavender top
Pink top tube (Blood Bank EDTA)
Gray top
Yellow top tube (ACD solution A) or (ACD solution B)
Royal Blue top; serum, no additive or sodium heparin
  White top

Order of the Draw

To prevent contamination of tubes with additives from other tubes it is important to draw the tubes in a SPECIFIC order called "the order of the draw". For example, if the additive in the purple stopper tube contaminates the green stopper tube this would cause a falseley decreased calcium and increased potassium. Please, JUST DO IT. The sequence of collection of evacuated tubes in a multi-draw should be in this order:

  1. Sterile/Blood cultures (yellow stopper or bottles, most institutions use bottles)

  2. Light Blue coagulation tube -NOTE: If coagulation tests only are ordered AND you are using a butterfly, draw a discard tube to collect the air in the tubing into the discard tube. Failure to do so will result in a short draw which will be rejected by the lab.

  3. Red - Non-Additive - has clot activator

  4. Red Gel separator tube (speckled or “tiger” top or gold)

  5. Green (heparin)

  6. Green/Gray mottled Plasma Separator Tube (PST) with heparin

  7. Lavender/purple and/or pink (EDTA)

  8. Gray top (Potassium Oxalate/sodium fluoride tube)

http://www.pathology.med.umich.edu/bloodbank/faqs.html - has the following picture. Visit their website as it has some other nice pictures and explanations.


The picture below is accurate EXCEPT for the royal blue tube. Since it has a red label it would follow the light blue coagulation tube. If the royal blue tube is glass the picture may be illustrating the use of a discard tube if a butterfly was used as there is a significant amount of air in the tubing which will result in a short draw in the light blue stopper tube.