Avoiding pre-analytic errors

Avoiding pre-analytical errors

How to avoid errors when collecting capillary blood samples

  • Before puncture1, cleanse site with alcohol and allow to ‘air dry’ to avoid haemolysis of sample; do not wipe site dry
  • After puncture, use clean gauze to wipe away the first drop of blood to avoid specimen dilution with interstitial fluid1,2
  • Touch collection device to second drop of blood and allow blood to flow into blood collection tube by capillary action, using a gentle squeeze-and- release technique to ensure a steady blood
    flow and prevent haemolysis and unwanted blood clots in specimen2
  • Do not squeeze the finger too hard or use a scraping or scooping motion when collecting the blood to help avoid haemolysis and specimen dilution with interstitial fluid1,2
Optimising collection technique minimises the risk of inaccurate results. Do not squeeze the finger too hard or use a scraping or scooping motion when collecting the blood to help avoid haemolysis and specimen dilution with interstitial fluid.

Expert Tip

Optimising collection technique minimises the risk of inaccurate results

These materials have been produced in consultation with key opinion leaders and follow global guidelines, but the user should use his or her professional judgement when using any technique or method described in these materials and should take into account all applicable national, regional and institutional guidelines and regulations.

1. WHO guidelines on drawing blood: best practices in phlebotomy. World Health Organisation; 2010. 2. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) document GP42-A6 (former H04-A6): Procedures and Devices for the Collection of Diagnostic Capillary Blood Specimens; Approved Standard – Sixth Edition. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute; Wayne, Pennsylvania, USA: 2008.