Current laboratory requirements for adrenocorticotropic hormone and renin/aldosterone sample handling are unnecessarily restrictive

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Samples for adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and aldosterone/renin analysis usually require rapid transport to the receiving laboratory for immediate separation and freezing. In practice, this means assessment is limited to hospital settings and many samples are rejected. We examined whether these requirements are necessary by assessing the stability of ACTH, aldosterone and renin over 48 hours in whole blood collected in serum gel and EDTA plasma from 31 participants. Our results show that ACTH collected into EDTA plasma is stable at room temperature for at least 6 hours, mean change at 6 hours –2.6% (95% CI –9.7 to 4.5). Both aldosterone and renin were stable collected on serum gel at room temperature for at least 6 hours: mean change aldosterone +0.2% (95% CI –3.6 to 4.0), renin –1.9% (95% CI –7.0 to3.2). Therefore, by using appropriate preservatives, ACTH and aldosterone/renin can be measured on samples collected at room temperature and processed within 6 hours. This would facilitate outpatient and emergency room assessment of these analytes.

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