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What is the Correct Order of Blood Draw? Importance of It

Phlebotomy Training Institute
5 Mins Read

If you are an aspirant phlebotomist, you should be well aware of the correct order of blood draw. The order of blood draw, if not followed, can dramatically affect blood test results, posing significant risk to patients.

Give a read to this blog to learn how to avoid cross-contamination of the blood sample by following the correct order of blood draw.

What is the correct order of blood draw:

An image of an injection needle inserted inside a bottle of blood

Blood samples in the blood lab are required to be drawn in a specific order to avoid cross-contamination by additives. Whether you collect the blood in glass or plastic tubes by syringe, tube holder, or tubes pre-evacuated at the time of collection, the phlebotomy order of draw remains the same. The correct order of blood draw is as follows:

  1. Blood culture tube or bottle (yellow or yellow-black top).
  2. Sodium citrate tube (blue closure). When drawing a blood sample for a routine coagulation assay, the phlebotomist should draw a single light blue top tube. If there is a concern about contamination by tissue fluids, they should draw a non-additive tube first and then the light blue top tube.
  3. Serum tubes with clot activator and gels (red-grey or gold top).
  4. Heparin tube with or without gel (dark green, light green, speckled green top).
  5. EDTA tube with or without gel separator (lavender, pearl, pink top).
  6. Sodium fluoride/potassium oxalate glycolytic inhibitor (grey top).

You might prefer watching the following YouTube video to have a clear concept of the blood draw procedure.

All the procedures of blood draw and the correct order of blood draw are essentially taught in the Phlebotomy courses offered by the Phlebotomy Training Institute. If you are interested in pursuing a career as a Phlebotomist and want to be trained by skilled professionals, the Phlebotomy Training Institute can aid you in reaching your goal.

Why is it Important to Follow the Order of Blood Draw?

The reason to follow the correct order of drawing blood is to prevent the carryover of additives from one tube to the next that might alter the testing results. The following points elaborately explain why it is important to follow the order of draw:

Prevents Contamination:

Different blood tubes containing different additives or clot activators are used for various laboratory tests. Blood collection in the correct order helps to prevent contamination between tubes and also ensures the accuracy of blood test results.

Minimises Hemolysis:

The breakdown of red blood cells is called Hemolysis, and it can affect certain test results. When you draw blood in the correct order, it minimises the risk of hemolysis, as some tubes are specifically designed to prevent this.

Helps to Preserve Sample Integrity:

Certain types of blood tests require preservatives to maintain the integrity of the sample. When the correct order of drawing blood is followed, it ensures the appropriateness of additives in each tube, preserving the sample for accurate analysis.

Ensures Patient Safety:

Any procedural errors can be avoided if blood is collected according to the order of the draw. This not only ensures the safety of patients but also contributes to a positive patient experience.

Doctor holding blood sample of female hormone test near test tubes

Confirms Maintaining Standard Protocols:

Healthcare professionals need to follow standard protocols and guidelines while providing quality patient care. Following the recommended order of drawing blood is a part of these protocols, which promote standardised practices in healthcare settings.


The order of blood draw is a crucial aspect of the phlebotomy process that impacts the accuracy of blood laboratory test results. Phlebotomists should maintain the order of blood draws when they collect blood from patients.


What is an EDTA blood test?

A healthcare professional performs an EDTA blood test to evaluate kidney function. The test involves injecting a small amount of radioactive material, which acts as a tracer and shows how well the kidneys are functioning.

What is an alkaline phosphatase blood test?

The doctor conducts an alkaline phosphatase blood test to measure the amount of ALP in your blood. This test helps diagnose liver damage or bone disorders.

What is the blood test for blood clots?

A D-dimer test is the blood test that healthcare providers conduct to determine if you have any blood clotting condition.

Why is it necessary to follow the order of blood draw?

Not following the order of draw can cause an additive carryover from one tube to the other, which can affect the lab results.

What is the most important step of blood draw?

When drawing blood, it is crucial to identify the patient accurately. Recording at least two patient identifiers, such as name and date of birth, prevents collecting blood from the wrong patient, which can result in misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment.

How to remember the correct order of blood draw?

The phlebotomists need to remember the correct order of blood draw, which is Yellow, Light Blue, Red, Light Green, Dark Green, Lavender and Gray. The easiest way to learn this is by saying Your Brother Robert Gives Lovely Gifts.


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