Lab access to blood collection tubes threatened by shortage

Healthcare has grappled with a shortage of sodium citrate blood collection tubes — those with a light blue top — since June 2021. But according to an FDA update earlier this year, all blood collection tubes are now in short supply.

The FDA posted on Jan. 19 a set of recommendations to mitigate the shortage:

  • Only perform blood draws considered medically necessary, remove duplicate test orders, avoid testing too often and extend time intervals between tests when possible.
  • Reduce tests at routine wellness visits and allergy testing only to those that target specific disease states or where it will change patient treatment.
  • Consider add-on testing or sharing samples between laboratory departments if previously collected specimens are available.
  • If  a discard tube is needed, use a tube type that the facility has more of.
  • Consider point-of-care testing that does not require using blood specimen collection tubes, such as lateral flow tests.

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