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Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 2012 Jun;23(4):299-303. doi: 10.1097/MBC.0b013e328351ebbf.

Discard first tube for coagulation testing.

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  • 1Central Biochemistry Laboratory, Memorial Hospital, Şişli, İstanbul, Turkey. niltek@hotmail.com


Tissue thromboplastin may contaminate the first tube sample due to the trauma of the venipuncture, and therefore, affect the accuracy of coagulation testing. This practice was stopped by Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute after several studies. However, most of the studies have verified these conclusions and refuted the need for a discard tube when drawing samples for coagulation tests in healthy groups. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the clinical importance of discarding a tube for prothrombin time (PT) determinations on large samples with international normalized ratio (INR) values between and over targeted therapeutic range. Patients receiving oral anticoagulation therapy (OAT) managed by our cardiology service were selected for this study. Tube 1 was always treated as the discard tube. Tube 2 was allocated to be analyzed along with the tube 1 for coagulation tests. Individual values were grouped into four cohorts according to the INR range. The ranges were as follows: less than 2.0, 2.1-3.0, 3.1-4.5 and more. Three hundred and seventy-six samples were drawn for PT/INR and activated partial thromboplastin time testing. We found statistically significant differences between tube 1 and tube 2 (P < 0.05), and satisfactory correlation coefficients were obtained by linear regression analysis (0.86 or greater in all cases). This study consisted of a high number of samples. Our data suggest that drawing a discard tube is still necessary for coagulation testing. Consideration should be given to revising the international guidelines related to the necessity of a discard tube for repeated evaluation of coagulation tests especially receiving long-term OAT.

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