BACKGROUND: This study aimed to verify whether blood drawn into six different commercial coagulation tubes generated comparable results of thrombin generation.
METHODS: Blood was sequentially collected from 20 healthy subjects into different brand and draw volume 3.2% sodium citrate tubes (4.3 mL Sarstedt, 3.0 mL Greiner, 2.7 mL Becton Dickinson, 2.0 mL Kima, 1.8 mL Sarstedt and 1.0 mL Greiner). Thrombin generation was measured in plasma with the fully-automated ST Genesia analyzer using the weakest trigger (STG-BleedScreen).
RESULTS: Different values of lag time (LT), time to reach thrombin peak (TP), thrombin peak height (PH) and endogenous thrombin potential (ETP) were commonly found in different tubes. Thrombin generation was the lowest in 4.3 mL Sarstedt tubes and the highest in 1.0 mL Greiner tubes. Other tubes displayed intermediate values. In multiple comparisons, LT was significantly different in 6/15 cases (40%), whilst PH, TP and ETP were significantly different in 14/15 (93%), 13/15 (87%) and 13/15 (87%) cases. The mean percent bias of LT, PH, TP and ETP ranged between -6% and +1%, -27% and +116%, -22% and +8%, and between -18% and +65%. The intra-assay imprecision of LT, PH, TP and ETP was exceeded in 0/15 (0%), 13/15 (87%), 6/15 (40%) and 13/15 (87%) comparisons. The correlation of LT, PH, TP and ETP values in different tubes ranged between 0.718-0.971, 0.570-0.966, 0.725-0.977 and 0.101-0.904.
CONCLUSIONS: Blood collection for thrombin generation assays requires local standardization using identical tubes for brand and draw volume, and reference ranges calculated according to type of tubes.