Factors affecting the risk of blood bank specimen hemolysis

Paula Tanabe*, Demetrious N. Kyriacou, Franklyn Garland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objectives: To evaluate simultaneously several possible risk factors for blood bank specimen hemolysis. Methods: This was a prospective cohort study of emergency department and labor and delivery patients to estimate the effect of various factors on the risk of blood bank specimen hemolysis. Study variables included patient demographics, type and gauge of needle or catheter, anatomic location of venipuncture, and patient care area. Hemolysis was determined by blood bank laboratory technicians. Cox proportional hazards multivariate regression modeling was performed to estimate the adjusted relative risks for hemolysis. Results: Of the 605 subjects with complete data, 194 (32.1%) subjects had blood-specimens drawn directly with a steel needle, and 411 (69.1%) had specimens drawn through a Vialon (BD Medical Systems, Inc., Sandy, UT) intravenous (IV) angiocatheter. The overall risk of hemolysis for all was 7%, 10% for Vialon IV angiocatheters and 1.5% for steel needles. In the multivariate analysis, the factors most closely associated with hemolysis were the use of Vialon IV catheters and sampling from an anatomic site other than the antecubital area. Conclusions: Blood bank specimens drawn from Vialon IV catheters (particularly smaller gauge catheters) and from veins outside the antecubital area are at significantly increased risk to hemolyze.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)897-900
Number of pages4
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003


  • Blood-bank
  • Hemolysis
  • Intravenous (IV) catheters
  • Specimen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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