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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Pre-analytical Challenges Encountered with Capillary Blood Collection and Testing. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Site Cleansing

Properly cleansing the site before the incision is made is critical for accurate test results. If not properly cleansed, microorganisms could be picked up from the skin surface and introduced into the tissue creating the possibility of infection, or dropped into the collection tube, contaminating the specimen. Also, it is advisable to have the patient wash his/her hands in order to eliminate any food residue which may interfere with testing. A pad with 70% alcohol should be used to cleanse the desired area in a back and forth fashion. It is important to allow for the alcohol to air-dry before performing the puncture. Alcohol can hemolyze the specimen and alter the test results. It is recommended to avoid using providone-iodine based cleansing solutions for capillary collections. Such cleansing solutions will cause elevated potassium, phosphorus and uric acid levels.