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Clin Chem. 2019 May;65(5):694-702. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2018.301408. Epub 2019 Feb 26.

Parameters for Validating a Hospital Pneumatic Tube System.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology and Immunology, Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine, Washington University, St. Louis, MO.
2
Department of Medicine, Siteman Cancer Center, Washington University, St. Louis, MO.
3
Department of Pathology and Immunology, Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine, Washington University, St. Louis, MO; gronowski@wustl.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pneumatic tube systems (PTSs) provide rapid transport of patient blood samples, but physical stress of PTS transport can damage blood cells and alter test results. Despite this knowledge, there is limited information on how to validate a hospital PTS.

METHODS:

We compared 2 accelerometers and evaluated multiple PTS routes. Variabilities in PTS forces over the same routes were assessed. Response curves that demonstrate the relationship between the number and magnitude of accelerations on plasma lactate dehydrogenase (LD), hemolysis index, and potassium in PTS-transported blood from volunteers were generated. Extrapolations from these relationships were used to predict PTS routes that may be prone to false laboratory results. Historical data and prospective patient studies were compared with predicted effects.

RESULTS:

The maximum recorded g-force was 10g for the smartphone and 22g for the data logger. There was considerable day-to-day variation in the magnitude of accelerations (CV, 4%-39%) within a single route. The linear relationship between LD and accelerations within the PTS revealed 2 PTS routes predicted to increase LD by ≥20%. The predicted increase in LD was similar to that observed in patient results when using that PTS route.

CONCLUSIONS:

Hospital PTSs can be validated by documenting the relationship between the concentrations of analytes in plasma, such as LD, with PTS forces recorded by 3-axis accelerometers. Implementation of this method for PTS validation is relatively inexpensive, simple, and robust.

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