Neonatal laboratory blood sampling: comparison of results from arterial catheters with those from an automated capillary device

Neonatal Netw. 2000 Feb;19(1):27-34. doi: 10.1891/0730-0832.19.1.27.


Purpose: To compare neonatal laboratory results from capillary blood samples drawn using the Tenderfoot automated capillary sampling device with those drawn through arterial catheters.

Design: Prospective, paired comparisons of laboratory results from capillary and arterial blood.

Sample: Twenty-one infants being cared for in an NICU and having indwelling arterial catheters through which a variety of predominantly glucose-containing fluids were being administered.

Main outcome variables: Statistical comparisons of paired capillary and arterial results of pH, PO2, PCO2, lactate, sodium, potassium, ionized calcium, and hematocrit.

Results: No capillary-arterial differences were observed for pH, PCO2, lactate, or sodium. Although capillary results were slightly, but significantly (p < .01), higher for potassium (+0.4 mEq/liter), ionized calcium (+0.47 mg/dl), and hematocrit (+4 percent), these differences fell within acceptable Clinical Laboratories Improvement Act (CLIA) performance criteria. Markedly lower PO2 (-30.2 mmHg) and glucose (-61 mg/dl) values were observed with capillary sampling. With the exception of results for PaO2 and plasma glucose, capillary blood drawn using the Tenderfoot automated device yields laboratory results comparable to those from blood drawn from arterial catheters as assessed by CLIA performance criteria.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arteries
  • Automation
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / instrumentation
  • Blood Gas Analysis / instrumentation
  • Blood Specimen Collection / instrumentation*
  • Blood Specimen Collection / methods
  • Capillaries
  • Catheterization / instrumentation
  • Catheterization / nursing
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Hematologic Tests / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Male
  • Neonatal Screening / methods
  • Neonatal Screening / nursing*
  • Probability
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics, Nonparametric