Capillary versus venous haemoglobin determination in the assessment of healthy blood donors

A. J. Patel, R. Wesley, S. F. Leitman, B. J. Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: To determine the accuracy of fingerstick haemoglobin assessment in blood donors, the performance of a portable haemoglobinometer (HemoCue Hb 201+) was prospectively compared with that of an automated haematology analyzer (Cell-Dyn 4000). Haemoglobin values obtained by the latter were used as the 'true' result. Material and Methods: Capillary fingerstick samples were assayed by HemoCue in 150 donors. Fingerstick samples from two sites, one on each hand, were obtained from a subset of 50 subjects. Concurrent venous samples were tested using both HemoCue and Cell-Dyn devices. Results: Capillary haemoglobin values (HemoCue) were significantly greater than venous haemoglobin values (HemoCue), which in turn were significantly greater than venous haemoglobin values by Cell-Dyn (mean ± SD: 14·05 ± 1·51, 13·89 ± 1·31, 13·62 ± 1·23, respectively; P < 0·01 for all comparisons among groups). Nine donors (6%) passed haemoglobin screening criteria (≥12·5 g/dl) by capillary HemoCue, but were deferred by Cell-Dyn values (false-pass). Five donors (3%) were deferred by capillary sampling, but passed by Cell-Dyn (false-fail). Substantial variability in repeated fingerstick HemoCue results was seen (mean haemoglobin 13·72 vs. 13·70 g/dl, absolute mean difference between paired samples 0·76 g/dl). Hand dominance was not a factor. Conclusions: Capillary samples assessed via a portable device yielded higher haemoglobin values than venous samples assessed on an automated analyzer. False-pass and false-fail rates were low and acceptable in the donor screening setting, with 'true' values not differing by a clinically significant degree from threshold values used to assess acceptability for blood donation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-323
Number of pages7
JournalVox Sanguinis
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Blood donor deferrals
  • Capillary haemoglobin determination
  • Haemoglobin screening of blood donors
  • Handedness
  • Venous haemoglobin determination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


Dive into the research topics of 'Capillary versus venous haemoglobin determination in the assessment of healthy blood donors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this