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Blood Collection Through a Heparin Port

Here is a question from ML Drejka, St. Barnabas Medical Center, West Orange, NJ:

Hi, Will citrated blood from a heparinized port be acceptable for a euglobulin clot lysis test? Thanks.

Hello, ML Drejka, and thank you for your question. The short answer is no, you should collect the specimen from a site separate from the vascular access device to avoid heparin contamination. According to Dennis Ernst, Center for Phlebotomy Education, we should avoid drawing through lines infused with heparin unless it is our only resource. If forced to collect through a device, flush first with 5 mL of saline, then draw and discard a volume of blood that is equal to or exceeds 6 times the dead space volume of the tube before collecting a specimen. For most ports or catheters, this translates to about 5 mL of blood. You can find this information in Ernst, DJ. Blood Specimen Collection FAQs, 2008. Center for Phlebotomy Education, Inc., and Dennis’s authority is Collection, Transport, and Processing of Blood Specimens for Testing Plasma-based Coagulation Assays and Molecular Hemostasis Assays; Approved Guideline, Fourth Edition. CLSI Document H21-A5, Wayne, PA. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute; 2008. Geo

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