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NICU guideline identifier

Blood sampling in NICU

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Laboratory Specimen Requirements 

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Tests Volume Container
Arterial gas
Includes:Na, K, Glucose, Hb, Hct, MetHb.
NICU Radiometer machine also measures bilirubin and lactate
0.3ml Plastic, heparinised, 1mL Blood Gas syringe
NICU Radiometer Gas Machine
Capillary gas - includes:  Na, K, Glucose, Bilirubin, Hb, Hct, MetHb, lactate

Glucose only

Bilirubin only
95 uL



Small capillary tube

Small capillary tube
Laboratory Gas
Capillary gas - includes:  Na, K, Glucose, Hb, Hct
0.2 ml   A full capillary gas tube
Biochemistry Laboratory
SBR (total) only
Total & Direct SBR
NB: Full biochemistry including all or any combination of:
Electrolytes, Ca, Gluc, Creat, Urea, LFT, SBR, Mg, PO4
When collecting 3-4 tests

0.3 ml
0.4 ml

0.5-0.6 ml
Green top (heparinised)
Green top (heparinised)

Green top (heparinised)
Green top (heparinised)
LFT - Liver Function Tests
Bilirubin, AST, ALT, GGT, & ALP
0.7ml  Green top (heparinised)
Thyroid Function Tests
TSH, Free T3 & T4
Note: If LFT and Thyroid Function Tests


0.9 ml
Green top (heparinised)

Green top (heparinised)
CRP (C-Reactive Protein) 0.3 - 0.5 ml
(depending on PCV) 
Green top (heparinised)
Full Blood Count
Coagulation Screen
NB: NICU stock - if not available obtain from PICU (not Lab.
incorrect size tube for neonates, larger volume required)
Whole blood PR/INR &/or APTT
0.2 ml
1.0 ml

0.3 ml
Contact Lab
0.3 ml
Purple top (EDTA)
Blue top micro-container

Green top (heparinised)
Special container
Purple top (EDTA)
Drug Levels
0.4 ml 
Remainder of 
these drug levels
require 0.3 ml
for 1 assay
0.5 for more
than 1
 Green top container
Vitamin A - All samples taken for vitamin levels must be wrapped in tinfoil
Vitamin D
Vitamin E
0.4 ml
0.3 ml
0.4 ml
Yellow top (plain tube =
no anticoagulant)
Blood Bank
Will only accept 'Request for blood components or products' form for
blood samples - not laboratory form - complete 'tests required' section

Blood Bank require their blood samples to be legibly hand labelled
using the specific labels, with
patient's first & last names
NHI number
date & time of collection
signature/initials of collector

Group & Coombs
Neonatal Crossmatch

0.5 ml
0.5 ml

Purple top (Micro-EDTA)
Purple top (Micro-EDTA)
Other Tests
Neonatal Zinc level

Cholesterol - level only
TORCH Screen
Hepatitis Screen
0.3 ml Arterial
or Venous sample
0.3 ml
0.3 ml
0.3 ml
0.6 ml
0.6 ml
1-2 ml Arterial
or Venous
Green top (heparinised)

Grey top
Green top
Green top (heparinised)
Yellow top
Yellow top
Green top
  • Other tests requested which are not routinely required for NICU infants - PLEASE consult the Laboratory staff for information on the amount of blood required and the appropriate container to use for the particular MICRO-COLLECT, also state for NEONATE.
  • For infants with a high PCV (often new admissions) when the blood clots easily causing difficulty in obtaining a result via the Radiometer Gas Machine, we have a supply of 55uL glass capillary tubes containing extra Heparin which may ensure you obtain a result - please ask the CCN for these capillary tubes when required.
Capillary Blood Sampling Devices
Tenderfoot- Micro-preemie Blue
For infants up to 1000 grams
Quikheel - Preemie Lancet Mauve
For infants 1005-1500 grams 
Depth 0.85mm
Length 1.75mm
May also be used for a small collect of 35┬ÁL ONLY
= glucose only or bilirubin only via Radiometer Gas Machine.
Quikheel - Infant Lancet Teal
For infants >1500 grams
 Depth 1.00mm
Length 2.50mm

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Document Control

  • Date last published: 01 April 2014
  • Document type: Clinical Guideline
  • Services responsible: Neonatology
  • Owner: Newborn Services Clinical Practice Committee
  • Editor: Sarah Bellhouse
  • Review frequency: 2 years