For specimen integrity and accurate data, blood samples must be stored in specific ways. The way the blood is initially collected and how it is transported and stored affect its long-term viability.
1. Correct Sample Size: Aim for Precision
For effective sample analysis:
Volume Matters: A blood sample should be substantial enough to conduct two versions – either duplicate or distinct – of the intended tests.
Optimal Size: To ensure test repeatability and confirmation, draw about 2 to 2.5 times the required volume.
Time Sensitivity: Blood should ideally be analyzed in the lab within four hours of collection. The lab must separate serum samples from whole blood within two hours post-draw.
Additives' Role: Incorporating elements like anticoagulants, clot accelerators, or heparin will depend on blood test specifications. Such additives can uniquely impact sample testing and storage.
2. Proper Temperature for Sample Maintenance: Storage Conditions Matter
Blood storage temperature varies based on its purpose:
Room Temperature: Ranges between 15° and 30°C.
Refrigerated: Fluctuates between 2° and 10°C.
Frozen: Sits at or below -20°C.
For specific molecular genetic tests, blood stability spans several days across a wide temperature spectrum. While DNA is stable for up to a month at room temperature, live blood cell viability starts waning in two days. Consequently, for prolonged use, it is advisable to either culture the samples or freeze them using liquid nitrogen.
While blood banks mark six weeks as the blood's "shelf life," research from Johns Hopkins University indicates a decline in the efficiency of red blood cells in distributing oxygen-rich cells post the three-week mark.
The flexibility of blood stored longer than three weeks reduces considerably, especially if not refrigerated, making it less effective in navigating the body's tiniest capillaries.
For any post-draw use, such as transfusions, it's pivotal to note that blood stored unrefrigerated beyond three weeks never regains its initial flexibility. Hence, blood samples should be swiftly tested, refrigerated for interim storage, or frozen if intended for extended storage.
Looking Ahead: The Benefits of Microsampling
The future of blood collection and storage sees promise with dried blood microsampling technology. Innovative microsampling tools offer efficient blood collection, remote sampling options, and sample drying in ambient conditions (room temperature). With dried blood samples, there is no need for refrigerated storage or complicated and expensive shipping.
The benefits of remote microsampling for dried blood analysis can expand your study options and your pool of study participants, while also reducing your shipping costs.
Dive deeper into the world of microsampling with our resource guides, or venture into our diverse product range to experience efficient and reliable storage solutions.