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Clin Lab Haematol. 2003 Feb;25(1):9-16.

Significant differences between capillary and venous complete blood counts in the neonatal period.

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Pediatrician, Başkent University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.


The normal capillary and venous hematologic values for neonates have not been defined clearly. It is well known that capillary blood has higher hemoglobin (Hb) and hematocrit (Hct) values than venous blood. In a recent study, we reported differences between capillary and venous complete blood counts (CBC) in healthy term neonates on day 1 of life. The aim of this study was to extend our previous investigation. Term neonates (n=141) were stratified into four groups by days of postnatal age: group 2 (day 7, n=38), group 3 (day 14, n=35), group 4 (day 21, n=32) and, group 5 (day 28, n=36). Data from our previous study were included in the statistical analysis as group 1 (day 1, n=95). A CBC and differential count were carried out on each capillary and venous sample drawn simultaneously. Within each group, the mean and standard deviation for each parameter in capillary and venous blood were calculated and then compared using the paired sample t-test. In all groups, the capillary blood samples had higher Hb, Hct, red blood cell (RBC), white blood cell (WBC), and lymphocyte counts. In each group, venous platelet counts were significantly higher than the corresponding capillary values. There was also a trend toward higher venous mean corpuscular volume, higher capillary polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PML) count and mean platelet volume in all groups. In both capillary and venous blood, Hb, Hct, RBC, MCV values and WBC, lymphocyte, PML counts decreased and platelet counts increased steadily during neonatal period. This study reveals that CBC parameters and differential counts may differ depending on the blood sampling used. The findings underline the importance of considering the sample source when using hematologic reference ranges for healthy or septic neonates. When interpreting results, the term 'peripheral blood' should be replaced with 'capillary blood' or 'venous blood' so that an accurate assessment can be made.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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