Low vacuum and discard tubes reduce hemolysis in samples drawn from intravenous catheters


Intravenous literature: Heiligers-Duckers, C., Peters, N.A., van Dijck, J.J., Hoeijmakers, J.M. and Janssen, M.J. (2013) Low vacuum and discard tubes reduce hemolysis in samples drawn from intravenous catheters. Clinical Biochemistry. Apr 19th. .


OBJECTIVES: In-vitro hemolysis is a great challenge to emergency departments where blood is drawn from intravenous catheters (IVCs). Although high quality samples can be obtained by straight needle venipuncture, IVCs are preferred for various reasons. The aim of this study was to identify blood collection practices that reduce hemolysis while using IVC.

DESIGN AND METHODS: The study was conducted at an emergency department where blood is drawn in ≥90% of patients from IVC. Hemolysis, measured spectrophotometrically, was compared between syringe and vacuum tubes. The following practices were tested in combination with vacuum collection; a Luer-slip adapter, a Luer-lock adapter, discard tubes and low vacuum tubes. Each intervention lasted 1week and retrieved 154 to 297 samples. As reference, hemolysis was also measured in vacuum tubes retrieved from departments where only straight needle venipuncture is performed.

RESULTS: Vacuum collection led to more hemolytic samples compared with syringe tubes (24% versus 16% respectively, p=0.008). No difference in hemolysis was observed between the Luer-slip and the Luer-lock adapter. The use of discard (17% hemolytic, p=0.045) and low vacuum tubes (12% hemolytic, p<0.001) substantially decreased hemolysis. None of the interventions reduced the hemolysis rate to the level observed when drawing blood by straight needle venipuncture (3%, p<0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: In summary, both discard and low vacuum tubes reduce hemolysis while drawing blood from IVC. Of these practices the use of a low vacuum tube is preferred considering the less volume of blood and the amount of tubes drawn.

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