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Platelets are small fragments of special cells that aid in blood clotting.Either plasma or serum may be separated from the blood cells by centrifugation.The essential difference between plasma and serum is that plasma retains fibrinogen (the clotting component), which is removed from serum.Serum is obtained from clotted blood that has not been mixed with an anticoagulant (a chemical that prevents the clotting of blood).Be sure to use only tubes with a 3.2% sodium citrate concentration. Send plasma in a plastic transport tube labeled “Plasma, EDTA from royal blue.” Tan-top tube: Contains sodium EDTA for blood lead analysis. The tube can be sent directly to the lab without transferring to a secondary tube.These are easily identified by the yellow diagonal stripes on the label. Send plasma in a plastic transport tube labeled “Plasma, Sodium Citrate.” Send whole blood in a blue-top tube. Plastic tubes can be frozen at -80°C without risk of breakage.Materials for proper specimen collection and transport are supplied by Lab Corp.
Do not use gel-barrier tubes to submit specimens for therapeutic drug monitoring.
Attempts to force more blood into the tube by exerting pressure, as in collection with a syringe, will result in damage to the red cells (hemolysis).
If the vacuum tube is not filling properly, and you are certain that you have entered the vein properly, substitute another tube. If the specimen cannot be properly collected, select another site and using new, sterile collection equipment, collect the specimen.
There are numerous coagulation factors (factor VIII, factor IX, etc) involved in the clotting of blood.
Several different types of anticoagulants interfere with the activity of these factors to prevent clotting.