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Suitability of Becton Dickinson Vacutainer rapid serum tube for collecting and storing blood samples for antibiotic and anticonvulsant drug monitoring
  1. Ronald Yan1,2,
  2. David Colantonio3,4,
  3. Pui-Yuen Wong4,5,
  4. Yu Chen1,6
  1. 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Dr Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital, Horizon Health Network, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
  2. 2Dalhousie Medical Program in New Brunswick, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
  3. 3Department of Laboratory Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  5. 5Laboratory Medicine Program, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  6. 6Department of Pathology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Yu Chen, Division of Clinical Biochemistry, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Dr Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital, Horizon Health Network, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada E3B 5N5; yu.chen{at}


Aims To investigate the suitability of newly developed Becton Dickinson Vacutainer rapid serum tube (RST) for therapeutic drug monitoring of antibiotics and anticonvulsants.

Methods Two pools of citrated whole blood were created by spiking high and low concentrations of gentamicin, vancomycin, phenytoin, lamotrigine and carbamazepine. After recalcification with 15 mmol/L calcium chloride, spiked whole blood was added into four different Becton Dickinson blood collection tubes: RST, serum separator tube, red top tube and polyethylene plain tube. Serum aliquots were collected at baseline (0 h), 2 h, 24 h, day 3 and day 7. Drug concentrations were measured in batch by HPLC and the Architect c8000.

Results Gentamicin and vancomycin concentrations were stable up to 7 days in all 4 blood collection tubes. Anticonvulsants results for the RST were stable and did not deviate substantially from those of the red top and plain tubes, and demonstrated better performance than the serum separator tubes that showed significant (≥10% bias, p<0.05) decrease in phenytoin and carbamazepine levels after 3 days of storage.

Conclusions The RST provides acceptable drug stability over the course of 7 days for gentamicin, vancomycin, phenytoin and lamotrigine and over 3 days for carbamazepine.

  • Chemical Pathology
  • Laboratory Tests
  • Biochemistry

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