BD Vacutainer® Heparin Blood Collection Tubes FAQ

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

What is the source of the heparin that is used in the BD Vacutainer blood collection tubes?

The heparin is derived from porcine intestinal mucosa.

What types of heparin are offered in the BD Vacutainer Blood Collection Tubes?

The green top heparin tubes contain either the lithium or sodium salt of the heparin anticoagulant. Lithium heparin should not be used for lithium determinations.

How is the heparin applied to the tube wall?

All of the heparin is spray-dried on the wall of the tube.

What is the concentration of heparin in the BD Vacutainer blood collection tubes?

Prior to April 1, 2010, the heparin concentration is approximately 15 USP (US Pharmacopeia) units of heparin per milliliter of blood. The USP is not equivalent to the International Units (IU). The IU is 6.4% greater than the USP.

As of April 1, 2010, if a sodium or lithium heparin tube has a capital N superscript alphabetic character following the word Heparin (i.e.HeparinN), the USP and IU are equivalent. You will also see a numerical change in the number of USP Activity Units as a result of the harmonization to the WHO International Standard.

Please refer to the BD electronic catalog for details on the specific product that you are interested in. There are no changes in the design or clinical performance of the BD Vacutainer Tubes with Lithium Heparin or Sodium Heparin Additives. This is a labeling change only.

For more information, please refer to the USP site's article on heparin.

Will the sodium results be higher in the Sodium Heparin Tubes?

When the Sodium Heparin tubes are filled to the proper volume, the sodium results will only be 1 to 2 mmol/L higher.