Objectives: Remote self-collected capillary blood samples have been proposed as alternative to venous blood samples as an aid in telemedicine. The aim of this work is to compare the preanalytical and analytical performance of these two types of samples and to study the stability of common measurands in capillary blood.
Methods: Capillary and venous blood samples were collected in parallel from 296 patients in serum tubes to analyze 22 common biochemistry magnitudes after centrifugation and in EDTA tubes to analyze 15 hematologic magnitudes. Quality of the preanalytical process was assessed applying the model of quality indicator. 24 h stability at room temperature was studied by obtaining paired capillary samples. A questionnaire of assessment was conducted.
Results: Mean hemolysis index was higher in capillary samples compared to venous blood samples (p<0.001). Regression analysis and difference analysis showed no bias for all studied biochemistry parameters and hematologic parameters, except mean corpuscular volume (MCV), between capillary and venous blood samples. Regarding sample stability, percentage deviation was higher than the corresponding minimum analytical performance specification for ferritin, vitamin D, hematocrit, MCV, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, platelets distribution wide, mean platelet volume and basophils. Finger pricking was perceived as less painful (p<0.05) than venipuncture in participants who undergo more than one blood test per year.
Conclusions: Capillary blood can be used as an alternative to venous blood for the studied parameters in automated common clinical analyzers. Cautious should be taken if samples are not analyzed within 24 h from the collection.