BACKGROUND: Assessment and control of preanalytical handling of blood samples for future research are essential to preserve integrity and assure quality of the specimens. However, investigation is limited on how quality control of preanalytical handling of blood samples is performed by biobanks.
METHODS: A questionnaire was sent to all Danish departments of clinical biochemistry, all Danish departments of clinical immunology, the Danish Health Surveillance Institution and the Danish Cancer Society. The questionnaire consisted of questions regarding preanalytical handling of samples for future research. The survey was carried out from October 2018 until the end of January 2019.
RESULTS: A total of 22 departments (78%) replied, of which 17 (77%) performed preanalytical quality control of the blood samples. This quality control consisted of patient preparation, temperature surveillance of freezers, maintenance of centrifuges, and visual inspection for hemolysis, lipemia, and sample volume. Automated sample check for hemolysis, icterus, and lipemia interferences was performed by 41% of respondents, not performed by 50% of respondents, and 9% did not answer. The majority (55%) of the participants stated that they had no local standard operating procedure for preanalytical handling of samples for research projects.
CONCLUSIONS: The preanalytical phase for blood samples obtained and preserved for future research in Denmark is highly heterogeneous, although many aspects (e.g., hemolysis, which also affects DNA analyses, metabolomics, and proteomics) seems highly relevant to document. Our findings emphasize the need to optimize and standardize best practices for the preanalytical phase for blood samples intended for use in future research projects.