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Reducing the risk of clot formation in blood samples.

Inadequate mixing of a sample can lead to a blood sample clotting

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Clot formation in blood gas samples can be a result of errors in the preanalytical phase of arterial blood gas analysis.

If the anticoagulant in a blood gas syringe isn’t completely dissolved in the blood sample, blood clots may form in the sample. When your blood sample is clotted, then consider it unsuitable for analysis. [1]

Outcomes of clotted blood samples

Clots in the blood gas sample can lead to:

Blood clots can block the pathway of the blood gas analyzer, leading to analyzer downtime. If clots are introduced into the blood gas analyzer, you’ll find the results biased or the analyzer inoperable. [1]  

Reduce the risk of clots in blood samples

Inadequate mixing increases the risk of clot formation in the sample. Mixing your blood sample adequately after collection reduces the risk of blood clots.

When the sample is free of air bubbles, mix the anticoagulant and blood sample adequately. The heparin in the sample needs to dissolve in the blood to reduce clot formation. The recommended technique suggests rolling the syringe between your palms. Then gently and repeatedly invert it vertically. [1-2]

At Radiometer, we designed the safePICO blood gas syringe  to help you adequately mix your sample. Dry electrolyte balanced heparin in our safePICO syringes in combination with automatic mixing helps to reduce the risk of your blood sample clotting.

After sample collection, the built-in mixing ball in the syringe helps you produce a homogeneous sample.

The safePICO syringe is designed to reduce the risk of other preanalytical errors. In addition to a clotted blood sample, safePICO can help to remove air bubbles safely from the sample and to reduce the risk of hemolysis due to mixing, needlestick injuries or patient-sample mix-up.


1. Dukic L et al. Blood gas testing and related measurements: National recommendations on behalf of the Croatian Society of Medical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Biochemia Medica 2016; 26, 3: 318-36.
2. CLSI. Blood Gas and pH Analysis and Related Measurements; Approved Guideline—Second Edition. CLSI document C46-A2 [ISBN 1-56238-694-8). Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, 950 West Valley Road, Suite 2500, Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087 USA, 2009.

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