Background: Blood loss due to phlebotomy leads to hospital-acquired anemia and more frequent blood transfusions that may be associated with increased risk of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. Multiple blood conservation strategies have been proposed in the context of patient blood management to minimize blood loss. Here, we evaluated a new small-volume sodium citrate collection tube for coagulation testing in critically ill patients.
Methods: In 46 critically adult ill patients admitted to an interdisciplinary intensive care unit, we prospectively compared small-volume (1.8 mL) sodium citrate tubes with the conventional (3 mL) sodium citrate tubes. The main inclusion criterium was a proven coagulopathy (Quick < 60% and/or aPTT > 40 second) due to anticoagulation therapy or perioperative coagulopathy.
Results: In total, 92 coagulation analyses were obtained. Linear correlation analysis detected a positive relationship for 7 coagulation parameters (Prothrombin Time, r = 0.987; INR, r = 0.985; activated Partial Thromboplastin Time, r = 0.967; Thrombin Clotting Time, r = 0.969; Fibrinogen, r = 0.986; Antithrombin, r = 0.988; DDimer, r = 0.969). Bland-Altman analyses revealed an absolute mean of differences of almost zero. Ninety-five percent of data were within two standard deviations of the mean difference suggesting interchangeability.
Conclusions: As systematic deviations between measured parameters of the two tubes were very unlikely, test results of small-volume (1.8 mL) sodium citrate tubes were equal to conventional (3 mL) sodium citrate tubes and can be considered interchangeable. Small-volume sodium citrate tubes reduced unnecessary diagnostic-related blood loss by about 40% and, therefore, should be the new standard of care for routine coagulation analysis in critically ill patients.