Long-term stability of glucose: glycolysis inhibitor vs. gel barrier tubes

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Background:Measuring the glucose concentration in whole blood samples is critical due to unsatisfactory glycolysis inhibition. Previous studies showed that Terumo tubes were superior, but they were taken off the European market in 2016 and alternatives were required. This initiated the present evaluation of glucose stability in five available tube types.Methods:Venous blood samples were collected from 61 healthy volunteers to test tubes supplied by Terumo (two sets), Greiner FC-Mix, BD FX-Mixture and BD serum. After sampling, the contents were thoroughly mixed and centrifuged within an hour. The glucose concentrations were determined and the samples resuspended except for BD serum tubes (gel barrier). The first 30 samples were stored at room temperature and the remaining 31 at 4°C. After 24, 48, 72 and 96 h, all tubes were (re)centrifuged, and glucose concentration measurements were repeated.Results:Changes in glucose concentrations over time differed significantly between the investigated tube types and to a certain extent between the two storing conditions. Glycolysis was most evident in the BD FX-mixture tubes. Good glucose stability was observed in samples retrieved form BD serum and Greiner tubes. The stability in both Terumo tubes was comparable to that in other studies. Although Greiner and both Terumo tubes are supposed to contain the same glycolysis inhibitor, glucose stability differed between these tubes.Conclusions:We showed that Greiner is an acceptable alternative to Terumo and that glucose in serum that was rapidly separated from corpuscles by a gel barrier is stable for an extended time.

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