Effects of storage temperature and time before centrifugation on ionized calcium in blood collected in plain vacutainer tubes and silicone-separator (SST) tubes.
We studied the stability of ionized calcium and pH in samples stored at either room temperature or 4 degrees C, in centrifuged and uncentrifuged blood-collection tubes and in centrifuged tubes containing a silicone-separator gel (SST tubes). At room temperature, in uncentrifuged blood from healthy individuals, mean ionized calcium usually increased no more than 10 mumol/L per hour; at 4 degrees C it did not change detectably for 70 h. This stability was fortuitous, however: the concentrations of both hydrogen and lactate ions in these samples increased, apparently with offsetting effects on the concentration of ionized calcium. Blood stored for 70 h at 4 degrees C in centrifuged SST tubes, although showing a slightly greater change in ionized calcium, had less change of pH and no change in the ionized calcium corrected to pH 7.4. In 11 heparinized whole-blood samples from eight patients in intensive care, the mean change per hour in ionized calcium and pH after storage at room temperature was +10 mumol/L and -0.04 units, respectively.
Toffaletti, J; Blosser, N; Kirvan, K
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