The causes of in-vitro hemolysis are many resulting from the specimen collection, to specimen processing and to specimen storage.
What is in vitro hemolysis?
In vitro hemolysis is the lysis or destruction of red blood cells (RBC) outside the body. The RBCs could either swell or shrink, destroying the RBC.
Here are some causes of hemolysis:
- Using a smaller gauge than the standard. Ideal gauge of needle for venipuncture is usually 20-22. A gauge 25 needle is one significant cause of hemolysis, especially if blood specimens are handled roughly.
- Squirting the blood directly into the specimen container.
- Squirting the blood without removing the needle.
- Using wet equipment, like wet syringes and wet test tubes.
- Shaking the specimen vigorously.
- Freezing the blood immediately after collection.
Hemolyzed serum should not be used in laboratory tests because it would yield unreliable results.