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Proper Labeling of Vacutainers, Microtainers and Blood Culture Bottles

Importance of Properly Labeled Specimens

  • Lab analyzers must be able to read the label on all specimens in order to run the designated test that has been ordered
  • Proper labeling of all specimens is key for timely results
  • Specimens that are mis-labeled will be rejected by the automated lab processor and then have to undergo manual troubleshooting
  • Mis-labeled specimens can result in a delay of several hours

Label Position

  • All labels, regardless of type, are positioned in the same direction on all specimens
  • For easy label placement hold the colored cap of the vacutainer with your left hand
  • The patient's name should be placed toward the cap and read from left to right
  • The left side of the label should be aligned with the top of the manufacturer's label closest to the cap

                                     

Label Placement

Labels are placed in different locations on the following specimens:

  1. Regular vacutainers
  2. Microtainers
  3. Yellow top urine vacutainers
  4. Blood culture bottles

Regular Vacutainer Label Placement

  • The patient's name must be read from left to right
  • The color printed on the label should match the color of the cap of the vacutainer
  • Apply the label to cover the manufacturer's label leaving a gap from the top of the label to the colored cap

Microtainer Label Placement

  • The patient's name must be read from left to right
  • The color printed on the label should match the color of the cap of the vacutainer
  • Apply the label directly underneath the colored top
  • There is no gap between the colored top and the label

Yellow Urine Vacutainer Label Placement

  • The patient's name must be read from left to right
  • The right end of the label is aligned with the taper of the vacutainer

Blood Culture Bottle Label Placement

  • Do not cover the manufacturer's bar code on the blood culture bottle
  • This bar code is scanned in the lab to determine whether the culture is aerobic or anaerobic
  • The patient's name should be read from left to right
  • Align the label with the top of the manufacturer's label on the opposite side of the bar code