Storage of Serum or Whole Blood Samples? Effects of Time and Temperature on 22 Serum Analytes
Information on the stability of serum analytes during storage of serum or whole blood samples is often incomplete and sometimes contradictory. Using a widely available analyser (Hitachi 737/Boehringer), we therefore determined the effects of storage time and temperature on the measured concentrations of the following serum analytes: sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, inorganic phosphate, magnesium, creatinine, urea, uric acid, bilirubin, cholesterol, HDL- and LDL-cholesterol, triacylglycerols, creatine kinase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, γ-glutamyltransferase, alkaline phosphatase, α-amylase, lactate dehydrogenase and cholinesterase. When separated serum was stored at + 9 °C for seven days, the mean changes in inorganic phosphate and lactate dehydrogenase exceeded significantly (p < 0.05 or 0.001, respectively) the maximum allowable inaccuracy according to the Guidelines of the German Federal Medical Council; all other quantities were sufficiently stable. In serum at room temperature, inorganic phosphate, uric acid, HDL-cholesterol and triacylglycerols increased continuously, whereas bilirubin, LDL-cholesterol, creatine kinase and aspartate aminotransferase decreased more than the guidelines permit during the storage period (p < 0.05 for asparate aminotransferase, p < 0.001 for the other analytes mentioned). In whole blood stored for 7 days at + 9 °C, only the following serum analytes satisfied the stability requirements of the guidelines: calcium, urea, cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triacylglycerols, creatine kinase, γ-glutamyltransferase and cholinesterase. When stored at room temperature, only sodium, uric acid, bilirubin, cholesterol, triacylglycerols, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, m-amylase and cholinesterase were still stable after 3 days. The data collected show that all quantities examined are sufficiently stable for four days in separated serum stored at + 9 °C.