Aims: To determine whether tubes containing sodium fluoride negatively bias blood glucose concentration by directly comparing glucose concentrations in paired blood samples collected in tubes containing lithium heparin (Li-Heparin) and tubes containing sodium fluoride/potassium oxalate (NaF-KOx).
Methods: Paired blood samples from a group of patients (n = 1040) were collected in tubes containing Li-Heparin and tubes containing NaF-KOx at the same time. All Li-Heparin samples were centrifuged soon after collection and were kept cool in transport along with NaF-KOx samples, which were centrifuged at the receiving location after an average transport time of 4 h, but immediately before analysis. Glucose concentrations in the paired samples were determined simultaneously by an automated oxidase method.
Results: The mean glucose concentrations for NaF-KOx samples and Li-Heparin samples were 5.7 mmol/l and 6.1 mmol/l, respectively, with a mean difference of 0.39 mmol/l.
Conclusion: Rapid separation of heparinised blood is superior to fluoride alone for abrogating glycolytic effects on blood glucose measurements in the clinical laboratory.
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Competing interests: None.