Evaluation of Specimen Types for Pima CD4 Point-of-Care Testing: Advantages of Fingerstick Blood Collection into an EDTA Microtube
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Evaluation of Specimen Types for Pima CD4 Point-of-Care Testing: Advantages of Fingerstick Blood Collection into an EDTA Microtube

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    Effective point-of-care testing (POCT) is reliant on optimal specimen collection, quality assured testing, and expedited return of results. Many of the POCT are designed to be used with fingerstick capillary blood to simplify the blood collection burden. However, fingerstick blood collection has inherent errors in sampling. An evaluation of the use of capillary and venous blood with CD4 POCT was conducted.


    Three different specimen collection methods were evaluated for compatibility using the Alere Pima CD4 assay at 5 HIV/AIDS healthcare sites in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. At each site, whole blood specimens were collected from enrolled patients by venipuncture and fingerstick. Pima CD4 testing was performed at site of collection on venipuncture specimens (Venous) and fingerstick blood directly applied to a Pima CD4 cartridge (Capillary-Direct) and collected into an EDTA microtube (Capillary-Microtube). Venous blood was also tested at the laboratory by the reference CD4 method and Pima for comparison analysis.


    All three specimen collection methods were successfully collected by healthcare workers for use with the Pima CD4 assay. When compared to the reference CD4 method, Pima CD4 testing with the Capillary-Microtube method performed similarly to Venous, while Pima CD4 counts with the Capillary-Direct method were slightly more biased (-20 cells/μL) and variable (-229 to +189 cells/μL limit of agreement). Even though all three collection methods had similar invalid Pima testing rates (10.5%, 9.8%, and 8.3% for Capillary-Direct, Capillary-Microtube, and Venous respectively), the ability to perform repeat testing with Capillary-Microtube and Venous specimens increased the likelihood of acquiring a valid CD4 result with the Pima assay.


    Capillary blood, either directly applied to Pima CD4 cartridges or collected in an EDTA microtube, and venous blood are suitable specimens for Pima CD4 testing. The advantages of capillary blood collection in an EDTA microtube are that it uses fingerstick collection which mimics venous blood and allows extra testing without additional blood collection.

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