Facts About Basic Blood Testing

Facts About Basic Blood Testing
November 20 05:25 2019 Print This Article

Most people have had their blood drawn when they visit their doctor or need a basic health screening for employment. What does the doctor’s office do with the blood, and how do they get the results? This varies with the practice, but there are commonalities.

Some Houston medical testing is performed in on-site or local laboratories, including those within hospitals. More complex diagnostic laboratory testing is usually performed in specialty laboratories known as reference laboratories. Tests are usually performed by certified, highly-trained medical laboratory professionals.

What the Colors Mean

Collection vials or tubes for medical laboratory testing come in different colors, depending on what is inside them. Some have anticoagulants to prevent clotting of the blood, while other tubes contain specific preservatives.

A purple-capped tube, commonly used to perform a simple hematology test known as the complete blood count (CBC), contains the anticoagulant ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). Chemistry panels are often run from green or red-topped tubes. The green tubes contain lithium or sodium heparin to prevent clotting, while red tubes have no additives. Gold-topped tubes contain a gel that separates serum from other blood components once they are centrifuged.

What Happens After Collection

Once the blood is collected, certain tubes have to be centrifuged or “spun” before the blood can be analyzed. These days, machines called analyzers do most of the testing that used to be performed largely manually. CBCs are run on whole blood, but chemistry analyzers typically need to have blood that has been centrifuged. These tubes are then placed on a chemistry analyzer, which runs the tests off the serum of a red-topped or plasma from a green-topped tube.

What the Numbers Mean

Blood tests can tell much about a person’s overall health, including basic organ function. For example, there are different analytes that can determine the health of the liver, the kidneys, the pancreas, and even the heart.

Blood testing is important for basic health screening. Knowing what happens to the blood once collected is beneficial knowledge to have.

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About Article Author

Mike Morgan
Mike Morgan

Mike Morgan is a health enthusiast and has written several health articles for various health magazines.

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