Colour coding for blood collection tube closures-a call for harmonisation

Ana Maria Simundic, Michael P. Cornes, Kjell Grankvist, Giuseppe Lippi, Mads Nybo, Ferruccio Ceriotti, Elvar Theodorsson, Mauro Panteghini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At least one in 10 patients experience adverse events while receiving hospital care. Many of the errors are related to laboratory diagnostics. Efforts to reduce laboratory errors over recent decades have primarily focused on the measurement process while pre-and post-analytical errors including errors in sampling, reporting and decision-making have received much less attention. Proper sampling and additives to the samples are essential. Tubes and additives are identified not only in writing on the tubes but also by the colour of the tube closures. Unfortunately these colours have not been standardised, running the risk of error when tubes from one manufacturer are replaced by the tubes from another manufacturer that use different colour coding. EFLM therefore supports the worldwide harmonisation of the colour coding for blood collection tube closures and labels in order to reduce the risk of pre-analytical errors and improve the patient safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-376
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2015


  • blood specimen collection
  • harmonization
  • quality of health care
  • standards
  • venipuncture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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