Background: Pneumatic tube sample transport is widely used in hospitals because it is convenient and reduces turnaround times. However, the preanalytical effects of pneumatic tube transport of blood samples on platelet function analysis are not fully understood.
Methods: Blood samples from 15 healthy subjects were collected before and after treatment with acetylsalicylic acid. Sample tubes were transported by pneumatic tube transport while the corresponding sample tubes were hand-delivered. Platelet function analysis was performed in platelet rich plasma by optical aggregometry and in whole blood by the PFA-100™.
Results: Using the collagen-induced optical aggregometry a significant decrease of the aggregation amplitude (n=30) was observed in tubed samples in comparison to the corresponding hand-delivered samples (low collagen concentration: 52.5 % vs 56.1 %, p=0.006; and high collagen concentration respectively: 63.9 % vs 67.1 %, p=0.011). Additionally, a slight prolongation of the PFA-100™ closure time for the epinephrine/collagen and the ADP/collagen stimulation was found in the tubed samples compared to the hand-delivered samples.
Conclusions: The results indicate that the pneumatic tube sample transport impairs the platelet aggregation. Therefore, we recommend the manual transport of whole blood samples which are collected for optical aggregometry or PFA-100™ analysis.
DOI: Clin. Lab. 2010;56:59-64