The impact of pneumatic tube system on routine laboratory parameters: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Abstract

Background:

Pneumatic tube system (PTS) is a widely used method of transporting blood samples in hospitals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the PTS transport in certain routine laboratory parameters as it has been implicated with hemolysis.

Methods:

A systematic review and a meta-analysis were conducted. PubMed and Scopus databases were searched (up until November 2016) to identify prospective studies evaluating the impact of PTS transport in hematological, biochemical and coagulation measurements. The random-effects model was used in the meta-analysis utilizing the mean difference (MD). Heterogeneity was quantitatively assessed using the Cohran's Q and the I2 index. Subgroup analysis, meta-regression analysis, sensitivity analysis, cumulative meta-analysis and assessment of publication bias were performed for all outcomes.

Results:

From a total of 282 studies identified by the searching procedure, 24 were finally included in the meta-analysis. The meta-analysis yielded statistically significant results for potassium (K) [MD=0.04 mmol/L; 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.015-0.065; p=0.002], lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) (MD=10.343 U/L; 95% CI=6.132-14.554; p<10-4) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (MD=1.023 IU/L; 95% CI=0.344-1.702; p=0.003). Subgroup analysis and random-effects meta-regression analysis according to the speed and distance of the samples traveled via the PTS revealed that there is relation between the rate and the distance of PTS with the measurements of K, LDH, white blood cells and red blood cells.

Conclusions:

This meta-analysis suggests that PTS may be associated with alterations in K, LDH and AST measurements. Although these findings may not have any significant clinical effect on laboratory results, it is wise that each hospital validates their PTS.

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