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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

Ed. by Gillery, Philippe / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Payne, Deborah A. / Schlattmann, Peter / Tate, Jillian R.

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Pre-analytical effects of different lithium heparin plasma separation tubes in the routine clinical chemistry laboratory

1 / Jutta Engelmayer1 / Sandra Götze1 / Michael Oellerich1 / Nicolas von Ahsen1

1Department of Clinical Chemistry, University Medical Center Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany

Corresponding author: Gunnar Brandhorst, Department of Clinical Chemistry, University Medical Center, Goettingen 37075, Germany Phone: +49-551-39-8062, Fax: +49-551-39-12771

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 49, Issue 9, Pages 1473–1477, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2011.606, July 2011

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Background: In this study the pre-analytical effects of sample storage on frequently used routine clinical chemistry assays were evaluated by comparing four different lithium heparin plasma separation tubes to a reference collection procedure.

Methods: Blood was collected from 20 healthy volunteers using plasma separation tubes from four different manufacturers together with manually separated plasma as reference. In total, 15 clinical chemistry parameters were determined at 0 h, 24 h, and 72 h. Samples were stored at 4°C. Statistical differences were evaluated using a generalized estimating equation regression model.

Results: Significant differences could be demonstrated for almost every parameter when comparing the separation tubes to the reference collection system. The estimated maximum allowable storage time in the primary tube was considerably reduced using separation tubes, e.g., for glucose the maximum storage time was reduced from >72 h to 7–15 h, and for potassium from 60 h to 10–13 h, respectively.

Conclusions: These data indicate that sample storage in the primary tube using plasma separation tubes is associated with clinically relevant changes for certain parameters. Therefore, storing samples for retesting should be avoided when using plasma separation tubes, in particular for parameters susceptible to interference by erythrocyte or platelet contamination.

Keywords: hemolysis; interference; plasma separation tubes; pre-analytical

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