BD Vacutainer® EDTA tubes FAQ

Answers to popular questions about BD Vacutainer® EDTA blood collection tubes.

What does EDTA stand for and how does the anticoagulant work?

EDTA stands for Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. EDTA functions by binding calcium in the blood and keeping the blood from clotting.

What is the concentration of EDTA in the lavender and pink stoppered tubes?

The nominal EDTA concentration is 1.8mg EDTA per milliliter of blood.

Why do some BD Vacutainer lavender top blood collection tubes contain K2EDTA and others contain K3EDTA?

BD Vacutainer Plus Blood Collection Tubes contain K2EDTA, which is spray-dried to the walls of the tube. K2EDTA is recommended by the CLSI (CLSI guideline - Evacuated Tubes and Additives for Blood Specimen Collection-Fifth Edition H1-A5, 2003) and the ICSH (International Council for Standardization in Hematology). Vacutainer glass blood collection tubes contain K3EDTA, the liquid form of EDTA.

What differences can I expect to see in hematological parameters when I switch from Vacutainer K3EDTA to Vacutainer K2EDTA?

K3EDTA is a liquid and will dilute the sample ~ 1-2%. K2EDTA is spray-dried on the walls of the tube and will not dilute the sample. Slightly higher results have been seen from the K2EDTA tube in some CBC parameters, but none of these were clinically significant. It is important to mix the sample 8 - 10 times immediately after collection to ensure all the anticoagulant is thoroughly mixed with the blood sample.

Can the BD Vacutainer Plus Plastic EDTA Tube be used for routine blood bank procedures?

Yes, the BD Vacutainer K2EDTA Plus Tubes are intended for routine immunohematology testing, including red cell grouping, Rh typing and antibody screening.

What are the differences between the lavender stopper and the pink stopper BD Vacutainer K2EDTA Tubes?

The differences are the types of closures and the labeling. The lavender stopper can either be rubber or a Hemogard™ closure on a plastic tube. Product 367899, a 6 mL plastic tube, and product 367842, a 2 mL plastic tube, both have a distinct pink BD Hemogard™ closure and product 368589 has a conventional rubber pink stopper. The pink stoppered tubes have blood bank labels and are generally sent to the blood bank laboratory in the hospital. The additive is the same in both tubes.

What is the minimum and maximum fill volume in the EDTA tubes?

The minimum and maximum acceptable blood volumes should be established by each facility, to ensure that accurate hematology results are obtained. BD Vacutainer blood collection tubes are designed to draw the appropriate volume to ensure a proper blood to additive ratio.

Does BD offer an EDTA tube that contains gel?

Yes, the BD Vacutainer PPT Tube (reference number 362788) contains EDTA anticoagulant and an inert polyester gel. The Hemogard closure color is pearl white and the blood draw volume is 5mL.