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Finger-Stick Complete Blood Counts: Comparison Between Venous and Capillary Blood

Rao, Lokinendi V. PhD; Moiles, Deborah PBT(ASCP); Snyder, Michael MD

Point of Care: The Journal of Near-Patient Testing & Technology: September 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 3 - p 120-122
doi: 10.1097/POC.0b013e31822814e0
Original Articles

Background: A complete blood count (CBC) including an automated differential is currently performed on complex analyzers in either central or satellite laboratories. Previously, we reported that CBC measurements determined by Chempaq XBC point-of-care analyzer compare favorably with laboratory-based Beckman Coulter LH750 system. This study describes comparison of capillary finger-stick versus venous blood CBC analyses.

Methods: Both finger-stick and venous blood samples obtained simultaneously from 310 patients from 5 different patient clinics were evaluated for white blood cell (WBC), hemoglobin (HGB), and differential cell counts. Finger-stick blood samples were collected and analyzed immediately by phlebotomy or nursing staff using a Chempaq XBC analyzer, whereas venous blood was sent to the main laboratory for the analyses on Beckman Coulter LH750 system.

Results: There are no significant differences between the mean levels of CBC parameters analyzed between the finger-stick and venous blood: the mean and bias between finger-stick and venous blood for WBCs (7.33, 7.25, 0.08), HGB (13.47, 13.20; 0.27), absolute number of granulocytes (4.96, 4.83; 0.14), lymphocytes (1.70, 1.81; −0.10), and monocytes (0.62, 0.57; 0.05), respectively. There is also a good correlation between finger-stick and venous blood samples except for monocytes: the slope, intercept, and r value for WBCs (1.04, −0.24, 0.92), HGB (1.13, −1.48, 0.94), number of granulocytes (1.01, 0.08, 0.91), number of lymphocytes (0.87, 0.12, 0.86), and number of monocytes (1.01, 0.04, 0.63), respectively.

Conclusions: Finger-stick CBC analyses offer a simple point-of-care in-office test. By following appropriate guidelines, like any flagged or abnormal results, being confirmed by the main laboratory, finger-stick blood testing for CBCs may be useful in remote sites, rural clinics, physician offices, and in developing countries.

From the Department of Hospital Laboratories, UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, MA.

Reprints: Lokinendi V. Rao, PhD, Department of Hospital Laboratories, 1 Biotech Park, 365 Plantation St, Worcester, MA 01605. E-mail:

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.