Finger prick blood tests cannot be relied on

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Nov 20, 2015

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Finger-prick blood tests tend to use only a single drop of blood for examination and this can yield inconsistent results, finds a study. According to the findings of the study, healthcare professionals must ensure that they do not avoid skewed results as they come up with new protocol as well as technologies to rely on the finger prick blood. Lead investigator Rebecca Richards—Kortum from Rice University in US.

blood prick test

The researchers spotted a wide variation in the benchmark tests that were performed on hospital-grade blood analysers. Benchmark controls help to tell the accuracy of tests results from newer technology.  Therefore, variation among the control data was a sign that something was wrong.

The researchers then came up with a simple protocol that tests whether there actually was a variation and if there was, how much. They drew six successive 20-microlitre droplets of blood from 11 donors. As an additional test to tell if minimum droplet size may also alter the results, the researchers drew 10 successive 10-microlitre droplets from seven additional donors.

Each of the 20-mililitre droplet was analysed with the hospital-grade blood analyser for hemoglobin concentration, platelet count, total white blood cell count, and three-part WBC differential, a type of test that measures ratio of different white blood cells, including granulocytes and lymphocytes.
Each of the 10-microlitre droplets was tested for hemoglobin concentration with a common blood analyser in several clinics as well as blood centres.
The researchers came to the conclusion that RBC, platelet count and WBC count all varied from drop to drop. The researchers concluded by saying that people should make sure that they administer finger prick tests in such a fashion that they do not give inaccurate results. It is very important in these tests to be accurate for the diagnosis of several health conditions such as malaria, HIV, sickle-cell anemia and other diseases.

The study has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology.

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