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It is still uncertain whether or not avoidance to let disinfectant alcohol dry at the site of venipuncture is a source of spurious hemolysis when drawing venous blood. In a consecutive series of 52 outpatients referred for routine laboratory testing, venous blood was drawn by direct venipuncture with (odd group) or without (pair group) wiping 70% isopropyl alcohol at the site of venipuncture. A 3.5 mL evacuated tube with dot activator and gel separator was drawn from a vein of the upper limb, serum was immediately separated with standard centrifugation and tested for potassium, lactate dehydrogenase (LD), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and hemolysis index (HI) on Roche Cobas. No specimen was discarded for unsatisfactory venipuncture. No differences for age and gender were observed between groups. As regards the four parameters investigated, no significant differences could be observed between patients in whom blood was drawn with or without letting the alcohol dry. It is also noteworthy that no sample in both groups exceeded the conventional sample rejection threshold of cell-free hemoglobin. The results of our prospective, randomized study attest that failure to wipe alcohol at the site of venipuncture should not be considered as a potential source of spurious hemolysis when drawing blood.


Gian Luca Salvagno, Elisa Danese, Gabriel Lima-Oliveira, Gian Cesare Guidi, Giuseppe Lippi. Avoidance to wipe alcohol before venipuncture is not a source of spurious hemolysis. Biochemia medica. 2013;23(2):201-5

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PMID: 23894865

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