The US. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added all blood specimen-collection tubes the specimen collection category on the device shortage list.
The list previously included sodium citrate (light blue top) tubes only.
“The FDA recommends healthcare providers, laboratory directors, phlebotomists, and other personnel consider blood specimen collection tube conservation strategies to minimize blood collection tube use and maintain quality and safe patient care for those where testing is medically necessary,” the FDA said on the agency’s webpage Blood Specimen Collection Tube Shortage: Frequently Asked Questions.
The conservation strategies the FDA recommends include the following:
- Only perform blood draws considered medically necessary and remove duplicate test orders to avoid unnecessary blood draws
- Avoid testing too frequently or extend time intervals between tests whenever 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 you need a disposable tube, use a tube type that has a greater quantity available at your facility
- Consider point-of-care testing that does not require using blood specimen collection tubes (lateral flow tests).