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What causes blood sample errors?

Here are the 3 most common causes of blood sample errors and how you can help to avoid them.

Blood sample errors are a common occurrence and can happen for a variety of reasons. Although they are most likely to occur if a sample has been collectedvia the finger-prick method, errors can still arise when avenous collection method has been used (although far less common). Here are the 3 most common causes of blood sample errorsand how you can help to avoid them.

1. Clotted sample

Clotting can occur if your blood is not mixed thoroughly after collection (the tube needs to be inverted 5times) or if you have taken a long time to collect your sample and the blood has clotted before mixing takes place. If you are taking a finger-prick sample then we recommend giving the container a gentle swirl after each drop of blood has been collected, to ensure that it mixes with the sample contents.

2. Haemolysed sample

A haemolysed sample occurs when some of the red blood cells burst and the haemoglobin within the cellsescapes and spoils the surrounding sample. With finger-prick samples, this can happen if your finger has been squeezed too hard or if you scraped your finger on the side of the tube rather than letting the droplets drop down the tube gently. Venous blood tests can also be affected by haemolysis when there are difficulties in taking the sample, although this is far less common.

3. Insufficient sample

When your sample is received at the laboratory it is spun and separated into the blood cells and the liquid (plasma) that surrounds the cells. If the amount of blood taken is too small then the lab will struggle to produce enough plasma from it. The usual cause for this is if the blood bottle is under-filled.

What happens if there is an error with your sample?

If ourlaboratory findsan error with your sample we'll notify you by email as soon as possible. There is absolutely no reason to worry!

If it was your first time collecting a finger-prick sample then we simply recommend trying again, many of our customers have a better success rate on their second attempt. Ordering a new finger-prick sample collection kit is easy and completely free of charge, simply call our customer care team on 03450 600 600 making sure that you have your order number and PID to hand. Alternatively, if you would like to upgrade your order and opt tovisit one of our partner clinics or arrange a home visit, our customer care team will be able to organise this for you.

How to take a finger-prick blood sample

Watch the short video below for our top tips on collecting a blood sample via the finger-prick method.