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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Special Topics in Phlebotomy. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Special Tests May Mean Special Collections

Some laboratory tests are so specialized that they require the use of special collection tubes to prevent erroneous results.
Some examples of special requirements include:

Laboratory Test
Heavy metals
Blood collection container material must be free of heavy metals
Tissue typing
Sample may need to be collected in preservative solution
Blood cultures
Specimens must be collected in bottles containing nutrient media to promote growth of bacteria within the bottle.
Genetic studies
Special tubes may be needed to preserve DNA and/or RNA

It is the responsibility of the phlebotomist to be aware of special requirements for certain tests. If the correct collection tube is not known then the phlebotomist MUST refer to the specimen collection manual or ask the appropriate laboratory worker to obtain the information. It is also imperative that the phlebotomist obtain and use only the correct equipment and not substitute something that is "close". This could affect the test results and the safety of the patient.