As an SEO writer assistant, let me provide some beginning content to introduce this topic. Blood collection tubes like SST tubes are essential medical supplies used by phlebotomists and laboratory technicians every day. Understanding the proper use and color-coding of these tubes ensures accurate test results. In this article, we’ll explore the specific color designation of tiger top SST tubes and how they are used.
Overview of Blood Collection Tubes
Blood collection tubes, also called vacutainer tubes, allow for safe and convenient drawing of blood samples from patients. These plastic tubes have a rubber stopper and are fitted into a holder connected to a needle. As the tube is pushed onto the needle, a vacuum inside draws the correct amount of blood into the tube. The rubber stopper provides an airtight seal to store and transport the sample.
There are many different types of blood collection tubes, each designed for specific tests. Tubes contain various additives and anticoagulants to preserve or isolate different blood components like serum or plasma. Using the correct tube type ensures the blood sample integrity for medical analysis and diagnostic accuracy.
Tube type can be quickly identified by healthcare workers through the tube’s color-coded plastic or rubber stopper. Standardized color-coding allows easy visual recognition of which analytes, additives, or tests the tube is intended for. For example, lavender-topped tubes contain EDTA for whole blood tests, and light blue tops contain sodium citrate for coagulation testing.
Purpose of SST Tubes
SST stands for “serum separator tube.” These tubes are used when serum is needed for analysis, often for biochemical or serology testing. Serum is the clear yellowish liquid that separates from clotted blood. SST tubes contain an inert silicone gel barrier that partitions the blood after collection. During centrifugation, the gel migrates upwards and separates the serum layer from the cellular fraction below.
The gel provides a physical barrier so the serum can be easily poured off or sampled without disturbance from the clot or red blood cells. SST tubes are commonly used for tests that require pure serum such as:
- Lipid profile
- Cardiac enzyme tests
- Hormone levels
- Therapeutic drug monitoring
- Certain immunology and serology tests
The serum separator gel facilitates fast, clean serum collection for timely test results.
Tiger Top Tube Color
SST tubes with an amber “tiger top” are the most widely used version. The distinctive tiger top pattern provides quick identification of serum separator tubes. The amber color of the plastic tube body also serves an important purpose:
- Protects serum analytes from UV light degradation
- Prevents bilirubin photo-degradation
- Is opaque to conceal any hemolytic blood samples
This amber coloring ensures test accuracy by maintaining the integrity of light-sensitive analytes in the serum sample. Tiger top SSTs are the standard tubes for most serum-based testing.
Tube Size Options
Like other blood collection tubes, SSTs come in different sizes to collect smaller or larger sample volumes. Common sizes include:
- 2-3 mL pediatric tubes
- 5 mL standard tubes
- 7-10 mL tubes for larger blood draws
The silicone gel separator is sized proportionally to the tube volume. Larger tubes allow more serum to be collected for multiple tests or archival storage. The amount of blood drawn into the SST depends on the specific tests ordered and minimum serum volumes needed.
Serum Tube Usage Tips
To use SST tubes correctly:
- Invert 5-6 times after blood draw to mix anticoagulant
- Allow full clotting time, usually 30-60 minutes
- Centrifuge as soon as possible at correct g-force
- Aliquot or analyze serum immediately, or refrigerate
- Avoid transferring cellular contents when pipetting serum
Adhering to these instructions provides optimal conditions for clean serum separation. Understanding the tiger top SST color coding guides proper test selection and ensures accurate blood analysis.
Table Comparing Blood Collection Tube Types
|Tube Type||Tube Color||Additive||Uses|
|Serum Separator Tube||Tiger top||Silicone gel separator||Serum testing|
|EDTA Tube||Lavender top||EDTA anticoagulant||Whole blood testing|
|Heparin Tube||Green top||Heparin anticoagulant||Plasma testing|
|Sodium Citrate Tube||Light blue top||Sodium citrate anticoagulant||Coagulation testing|
In summary, tiger top SST tubes have an amber color with distinctive striped pattern to clearly identify them as serum separator tubes. Their inert gel and opaque plastic protects serum samples for accurate clinical chemistry analysis. Understanding the color coding and proper use of SSTs allows medical staff to collect high quality serum specimens needed for diverse diagnostic testing.