Samples for Blood Gases

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Clinical Pathology

Samples for Blood Gases

Blood gas samples should only be be collected into heparin (green top tube), either directly into vacutainers or heparin-coated syringes. Blood gases are unstable and should be rushed over to the laboratory as soon as possible. The samples must also be kept anaerobic, so do not expose the sample to air or agitate the sample after exposure to air. Ionized calcium values are dependent on blood pH, therefore they should be treated similarly to blood gases. Ionized calcium should be collected in red top tubes.

These guidelines should be followed for submission of blood gases:

  • Ensure the sample is kept anaerobic.
  • NO MICROTAINERS!! This is because we cannot keep the sample anaerobic in the laboratory and there is often insufficient volume in a microtainer to perform the blood gas analysis.
  • The tubes should be labeled with the patient identification and owner name at the minimum. A request form with pertinent history details should be submitted concurrently.
  • Ensure that someone knows you have dropped off the sample in the laboratory. Do not leave the sample unless someone in the laboratory is notified regarding its presence.
  • Do not submit samples with needles attached!! Cap the syringe with a black cap to maintain anaerobic conditions.