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Impact of Use of Smaller Volume, Smaller Vacuum Blood Collection Tubes on Hemolysis in Emergency Department Blood Samples.

Objectives: Hemolyzed blood samples commonly occur in hospital emergency departments (EDs). Our objective was to determine whether replacing standard large-volume/high-vacuum sample tubes with low-volume/low-vacuum tubes would significantly affect ED hemolysis.

Methods: This was a prospective intervention of the use of small-volume/vacuum collection tubes. We evaluated all potassium samples in ED patients and associated hemolysis. We used χ2 tests to compare hemolysis incidence prior to and following utilization of small tubes for chemistry collection.

Results: There were 35,481 blood samples collected during the study period. Following implementation of small-volume tubes, overall hemolysis decreased from a baseline of 11.8% to 2.9% (P < .001) with corresponding reductions in hemolysis with comment (8.95% vs 1.99%; P < .001) gross hemolysis (2.84% vs 0.90%; P < .007).

Conclusions: This work demonstrates that significant improvements in ED hemolysis can be achieved by utilization of small-volume/vacuum sample collection tubes.

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