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Effect of pre-analytical handling on haematological variables in minipigs.

Olsen, A.K., Bladbjerg, E.M., Jensen, A.L. and Hansen, A.K.

Laboratory Animals, 35(2), 147-152 (2001).

Pre-analytical handling may be an important determinant of haematological variables, if analysis is delayed. We investigated the effect of anticoagulants, i.e. tripotassium ethylenediamine-tetraacetic acid (EDTA) and citric acid, theophylline, adenosine, dipyridamole (CTAD), storage time (0.5, 1.5, 3.5, 5.5, 7.5, 25.5 and 27.5 h after blood sampling), and storage temperature (5 degreesC and 20 degreesC) on the variation in haemoglobin (HGB), red blood cell count (RBC), haematocrit (HCT), white blood cell count (WBC), and platelet count (PLT) in minipigs. Medians of HGB, RBC, HCT, WBC and PLT were significantly higher in EDTA tubes than in CTAD tubes due to the dilution effect of the anticoagulant. We found a minor significant increase in HCT after 25.5 h in blood stored at 20 degreesC, and at the same time a minor significant increase in WBC in EDTA tubes stored at 20 degreesC. We found a significant decrease in PLT in blood stored at 5 degreesC, especially in EDTA tubes. Minor variations were also observed in HGB and RBC. Our results indicate that PLT should only be measured in tubes placed at room temperature. If HCT or WBC analyses are to be performed on the day after blood sampling, the samples must be stored in a refrigerator until analysis. Our studies underline that time delay before analysis of haematological variables can cause increased variation, and should therefore be limited as far as possible in order to reduce the number of animals needed to make reliable conclusions.