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Ann Clin Biochem. 2010 Jan;47(Pt 1):94-6. doi: 10.1258/acb.2009.009044. Epub 2009 Nov 25.

Pneumatic transport is critical for leukaemic patients with major leukocytosis: what precautions to measure lactate dehydrogenase, potassium and aspartate aminotransferase?

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  • 1UF Analyses automatisées, Pôle de Biochimie et Biologie Moléculaire, Centre de Biologie Pathologie, France.


False elevations of plasma lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), potassium and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) have been described, in relation to haemolysis, occurring most often by mechanical release during phlebotomy or specimen processing. We present the cases of two leukaemic patients with severe hyperleukocytosis for whom LDH, potassium and AST were dramatically but falsely elevated. This false elevation was not caused by haemolysis but could be related to white cells lysis during transport through a pneumatic transportation system, enhanced by a specific fragility of leukaemic cells. Interestingly, this interference almost completely disappeared when serum rather than plasma was used, or when leukocytosis came back to normal. This work is meant to alert clinicians to the risks of errors in LDH, potassium and AST in leukaemic patients and suggest what precautions to take.

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