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Order of Blood Draw / Blood Transfer

The 4 Most Common Blood Collection Tubes



sodium citrate




lithium heparin
(mint/light green)



Order of Draw

Order of Draw is the order in which tubes are filled directly, using the evacuated tube blood collection method.

Blood collection tubes must be filled in a specific sequence to minimize contamination of sterile specimens, avoid possible test result error caused by carryover of additives between tubes, and reduce the effect of microclot formation in tubes.

    • When blood tubes are collected out of order, there may be carryover of anticoagulants or additives, causing erroneous results.
    • Example:  A lavender tube drawn before an SST tube may give elevated potassium results.


Click here for a table showing the correct order of draw.

Order of Transfer

The same order is used when transferring blood from a syringe to the evacuated tubes as it is with Order of Draw.

 Do not push on the plunger of the syringe when tubes are filling.  The vacuum of the tubes will draw the sample from the syringe until the tube is filled.  The tube lid may pop off due to excess positive pressure in the tube, and/or hemolysis can occur.