Which anticoagulant should I order with my purchase of blood or plasma?

Innovative Research sells human whole blood with a choice of anticoagulants. Needs vary, depending on the research you are carrying out. See below for a comprehensive list of anticoagulants we carry and how they affect the downstream use of the blood or plasma product being used.


A wide variety of anticoagulants are used to prevent activation of the coagulation cascade following whole blood collection. The choice of anticoagulant is greatly dependent on the downstream use of the blood or plasma product that is purchased. The anticoagulant properties of these reagents are not species-specific so can be included in animal plasma as well as human plasma.
Blood coagulation is initiated by the physical trauma of puncturing the human vein by the phlebotomy needle. Negatively charged surfaces such as glass can also trigger clotting so a plastic container or silicon coated glass is required to prevent coagulation. Proper thawing and freezing protocols should also be followed to preserve product quality.

Heparin – Sodium (Na Heparin), Lithium (Li Heparin)

Heparin acts as an anticoagulant by forming a complex with antithrombin III greatly increasing its inhibitory activity. The antithrombin-heparin complex inhibits thrombin and Factor Xa and thus prevents coagulation. Heparin is chosen for routine analytes, such as potassium, phosphorus, and glucose, as well as special chemistries such as therapeutic drugs, proteins, peptides, steroids, and vitamins. Lithium heparin is generally preferred over sodium heparin for clinical chemistry.

Citrate – Sodium (Na Citrate), Acid Citrate Dextrose (ACD), Citrate Phosphate Dextrose (CPD)

Citrate is used as an anticoagulant for coagulation investigations. It works as an anticoagulant by forming complexes with metal ions such as calcium inhibiting the coagulation cascade. Anticoagulation with citrate is reversible by addition of excess calcium for clot time measurements. Citrate is also suitable for platelet studies. ACD and CPD are used for the conservation of red blood cells.

EDTA – Sodium (Na EDTA), Di-potassium (K2 EDTA), Tri-potassium (K3 EDTA)

EDTA salts (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) are used to anticoagulate whole blood for haematological investigations such as hematology determinations, immunohematology and blood donor screening. The cellular components of the blood are particularly well preserved by EDTA. It works as an anticoagulant as it forms complexes with metal ions such as calcium, therefore inhibiting the coagulation cascade. Anticoagulation with EDTA is not easily reversible for coag studies but can be overwhelmed by addition of excess calcium or extrinsic thrombin.

Potassium Oxalate/Sodium Fluoride

This anticoagulant mix is used for plasma glucose and lactate determination. Glucose values in unpreserved blood samples decrease quickly after collection as glucose is metabolized by the blood cells. The antiglycolytic agent sodium fluoride stops enzymatic activity at the glycolytic pathway while the anticoagulating agent potassium oxalate chelates metal ions such as calcium.


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