What Happens to Your Blood Sample Once It's Been Collected

What Happens to Your Blood Sample Once it's Been Collected?

Have you ever wondered what happens to your blood sample once it's been collected at the laboratory? You may be surprised to learn about the intricate process that takes place behind the scenes. In this blog post, we will explore the journey of your blood sample and the steps involved in analysing it.

What Happens to Your Blood Sample Once it's Been Collected?

Ever wonder what happens to your blood or urine sample once our phlebotomist collects it? Get a behind-the-scenes look into healthcare nt sickcare's state-of-the-art laboratory!

  1. Step 1: Identification and Labelling: Once your blood sample arrives at the laboratory, the first step is to ensure proper identification and labelling. This is crucial to avoid any mix-ups or errors in the analysis process. Each sample is assigned a unique identification number and labelled with the patient's details, including name, date of birth, and medical record number.
  2. Step 2: Centrifugation: After the samples are properly labelled, they undergo centrifugation. This process involves spinning the samples at high speeds to separate the different components of the blood. Centrifugation allows the laboratory technicians to obtain the serum or plasma, which contains valuable information for analysis.
  3. Step 3: Testing and Analysis: Once the blood sample has been prepared, it is time for testing and analysis. Depending on the purpose of the test, the laboratory may perform a wide range of examinations, including complete blood count, cholesterol levels, glucose levels, and more. These tests provide valuable insights into your overall health and help diagnose various medical conditions.
  4. Step 4: Quality Control: Quality control is an essential part of the laboratory process. Before releasing the results, the laboratory technicians carefully review and verify the accuracy of the test results. They compare the obtained values with established reference ranges and ensure that all quality control measures are met. This step is crucial to ensure the reliability and validity of the test results.
  5. Step 5: Result Reporting: Once the analysis is complete and the results have been verified, the laboratory generates a comprehensive report. This report includes the test results, reference ranges, and any additional comments or interpretations from the laboratory professionals. The report is then sent to the healthcare provider who requested the test, who will discuss the results with the patient.
  6. Step 6: Sample Storage and Disposal: After the analysis and result reporting, the laboratory stores the remaining blood sample for a certain period of time, as required by regulations and policies. This allows for any necessary retesting or additional analysis if needed. Once the storage period has elapsed, the sample is disposed of according to proper biohazardous waste disposal protocols.

What Happens to Your Blood after Blood Test?

After a blood test, the sample goes through several steps and processes. Here's what typically happens to your blood after it's drawn:

  1. Collection: Your blood is drawn, usually from a vein in your arm, into one or more test tubes or vials. The tubes may contain additives like anticoagulants or preservatives, depending on the tests being performed.
  2. Labeling: The test tubes are labeled with your personal identification information, such as your name, date of birth, and a unique identification number or barcode.
  3. Transport: If the blood sample is not being analyzed on-site, it is transported to a laboratory facility, often in a temperature-controlled container or cooler to maintain the integrity of the sample.
  4. Processing: At the laboratory, the blood samples are sorted and prepared for analysis. This may involve centrifugation to separate the blood into its components (red blood cells, plasma, serum, etc.), depending on the tests required.
  5. Analysis: The specific tests ordered by your healthcare provider are performed on the processed blood sample. These tests can include:
    • Complete blood count (CBC)
    • Blood chemistry tests (e.g., electrolytes, liver enzymes, cholesterol)
    • Hormone tests
    • Therapeutic drug monitoring
    • Genetic or molecular tests
    • Immunology tests (e.g., antibody detection)
  6. Quality control: Before reporting the results, the laboratory performs quality control checks to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the test results.
  7. Reporting: The test results are compiled and reported, either electronically or in printed form, to your healthcare provider or the ordering facility.
  8. Storage or disposal: Depending on the laboratory's policies and regulations, the remaining blood sample may be stored for a certain period in case further testing is needed, or it is properly disposed of as medical waste.

It's important to note that blood samples are handled with strict protocols and safety measures to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of patient information, as well as to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the test results.

Follow Your Blood Test Sample in A Short Lab Tour

Understanding the journey of your blood sample can help you appreciate the expertise and dedication of the laboratory professionals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to provide you with valuable health information. Rest assured that your blood sample is in good hands, and the analysis process is conducted with the utmost care and precision.

#labsafety #labquality #medicaltesting

How Long can Blood Samples be Stored at Room Temperature?

Blood samples should not be stored at room temperature for an extended period, as this can affect the integrity of the sample and potentially compromise the accuracy of test results. However, there are some general guidelines for how long blood samples can be stored at room temperature (typically around 20-25°C or 68-77°F) before analysis:

  1. For routine blood tests:
    • Whole blood samples (e.g., for complete blood count, blood typing) can be stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours.
    • Serum or plasma samples (e.g., for chemistry tests, hormone tests) can be stored at room temperature for up to 8 hours.
  2. For specialized tests:
    • Samples for coagulation studies (e.g., PT/INR, aPTT) should be tested within 2-4 hours of collection.
    • Samples for blood gas analysis should be analyzed immediately, as they are highly susceptible to changes in temperature and exposure to air.
    • Samples for molecular tests or genetic testing may have shorter room temperature stability, often within 6 hours or less.

It's important to note that these are general guidelines, and the specific stability of a blood sample can vary depending on the type of test, the anticoagulant or preservative used, and the storage conditions. Prolonged storage at room temperature can lead to hemolysis (rupture of red blood cells), clotting, bacterial growth, or changes in the concentration of analytes being measured.

To ensure the accuracy and reliability of test results, most laboratories follow strict protocols for sample handling, storage, and transportation. This includes keeping blood samples refrigerated or frozen if they cannot be analyzed within the recommended time frame for room temperature storage.

If you have specific questions or concerns about the stability of your blood sample, it's best to consult with the healthcare provider or laboratory personnel responsible for handling and analyzing your sample.

Sample Tracking Process at healthcare nt sickcare

We utilize barcoding technology to ensure each sample is accurately tracked from collection to reporting. Samples are handled by trained technicians and testing is done via automated analysers.

Rigorous Quality Control

Multiple quality control checks are performed daily on equipment and reagents to validate test procedures, calibrations and result consistency prior to processing patient samples.

Test Reporting Protocols

Reports are generated only after specialized lab consultants double check results meet the highest benchmarks for accuracy. Normal and abnormal findings get clearly highlighted for easy physician interpretation.

How long does the blood sample last before it needs to be processed?

Ideally blood samples should be processed within 6–24 hours after collection to get accurate test results. Proper storage and transport helps maintain integrity of the blood components so they can be analysed correctly in the lab later.

Do all vials of blood get tested for the same things or does each one have special handling?

No, each vial of blood may require different handling or testing. Blood collection tubes often contain additives and are colour coded for specific types of tests - like red top tubes for serum tests, purple top for complete blood count. The lab techs are specially trained to process and test blood from each tube according to established protocols.

Why can't I just prick my finger and test my own blood easily at home rather than having elaborate blood draws?

While at-home fingerstick devices provide instant results for limited tests like glucose monitoring, comprehensive health testing still requires properly collecting & storing sizable blood samples. Vital diagnostic tests assess subtle biomarkers that fingerstick devices cannot sufficiently or reliably measure. Getting your annual health labs done by trained phlebotomists ensures clinical-grade biometric analysis you can trust.


So, the next time you have your blood drawn at the laboratory, remember that it undergoes a meticulous process of identification, centrifugation, testing, quality control, result reporting, and proper storage. This ensures accurate and reliable results that contribute to your healthcare diagnosis and treatment.

Take our virtual tour for full transparency into how your most important asset: your health sample: gets managed with utmost care at healthcare nt sickcare’s diagnostic laboratory. We take quality seriously.

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