A lavender top tube is commonly used in medical laboratories to collect blood samples for various tests. However, there are times when the blood sample in the lavender top tube gels or clots, making it unusable for testing. In this article, we will explore the various reasons that could cause a lavender top tube to gel and how to prevent this from happening.
What is a Lavender Top Tube?
A lavender top tube is a type of blood collection tube that contains EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) as an anticoagulant. EDTA binds with calcium present in the blood, preventing it from clotting. Lavender top tubes are commonly used to collect whole blood or plasma for hematology tests, blood typing, and cross-matching. They are also used for DNA testing, as EDTA is known not to interfere with DNA analysis.
What Causes a Lavender Top Tube to Gel?
A lavender top tube may gel or clot due to various reasons, including:
- Partial Filled Tube: It is crucial to fill the lavender top tube adequately. Filling it less than the required level could cause the sample to come in contact with the tube’s air and cause coagulation.
- Improper Mixing of the Tube: Blood samples collected in lavender top tubes must be mixed gently to ensure that the anticoagulant mixes with the blood. Inadequate or improper mixing may lead to unequal distribution of anticoagulant, causing coagulation.
- Cold Agglutinins: Cold agglutinins are antibodies produced by the immune system that can cause clumping of red blood cells when exposed to cold temperatures. Cold agglutinins can cause lavender top tubes to gel if the tube gets exposed to cold temperatures during or after sample collection.
- Contaminated Tubes: Sometimes, lavender top tubes might get contaminated during the manufacturing process or while handling. Contaminants in the tube, including bacteria, can cause coagulation or gel formation.
- Clotting Factors: Certain clotting factors present in the blood, including thrombin or fibrinogen, may interfere with anticoagulants like EDTA, causing gel formation.
What Are the Effects of Gel Formation in Lavender Top Tubes?
Gel formation in lavender top tubes can cause various problems, including:
- Interference with Testing: The gel that forms in the tube separates the red blood cells from the plasma, making blood testing difficult.
- False Results: Sometimes, gel formation may produce false results, leading to misdiagnosis and wrong treatment.
- Need for Repetition: When gel formation occurs, the sample needs to be redrawn, causing repetition of the blood collection process, which can delay treatment and increase costs.
How to Prevent Gel Formation in Lavender Top Tubes?
To prevent gel formation in lavender top tubes, it is essential to take necessary precautions, including:
- Proper mixing: Blood samples collected in lavender top tubes must be mixed gently to ensure distribution of anticoagulant throughout the sample.
- Adequate filling: The lavender top tube must be adequately filled to prevent air from coming in contact with the sample and causing coagulation.
- No Exposure to Cold: The lavender top tubes must be maintained at room temperature, and samples must not be exposed to cold temperatures during or after collection.
- Use Sterile Tubes: It is essential to use sterile lavender top tubes to prevent contamination that can cause gel formation.
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Gel formation in lavender top tubes can cause inconvenience and hamper the accuracy of testing results. It is crucial to take necessary precautions to prevent gel formation. Proper mixing, adequate filling, and no exposure to cold are some of the measures that can be taken to prevent gel formation. By following these guidelines, medical laboratories can ensure accurate and reliable results for all their tests.
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Last update 2023-06-07. Price and product availability may change.