Background: A number of preanalytical activities strongly influence sample quality, especially those related to sample collection. Since blood drawing through intravenous catheters is reported as a potential source of erythrocyte injury, we performed a critical review and meta-analysis about the risk of catheter-related hemolysis.
Materials and methods: We performed a systematic search on PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus to estimate the risk of spurious hemolysis in blood samples collected from intravenous catheters. A meta-analysis with calculation of Odds ratio (OR) and Relative risk (RR) along with 95% Confidence interval (95% CI) was carried out using random effect mode.
Results: Fifteen articles including 17 studies were finally selected. The total number of patients was 14,796 in 13 studies assessing catheter and evacuated tubes versus straight needle and evacuated tubes, and 1251 in 4 studies assessing catheter and evacuated tubes versus catheter and manual aspiration. A significant risk of hemolysis was found in studies assessing catheter and evacuated tubes versus straight needle and evacuated tubes (random effect OR 3.4; 95% CI = 2.9-3.9 and random effect RR 1.07; 95% CI = 1.06-1.08), as well as in studies assessing catheter and evacuated tubes versus catheter and manual aspiration of blood (OR 3.7; 95% CI = 2.7-5.1 and RR 1.32; 95% CI = 1.24-1.40).
Conclusions: Sample collection through intravenous catheters is associated with significant higher risk of spurious hemolysis as compared with standard blood drawn by straight needle, and this risk is further amplified when intravenous catheter are associated with primary evacuated blood tubes as compared with manual aspiration.