Reproducibility of Serum Potassium Values in Serum From Blood Samples Stored for Increasing Times Prior to Centrifugation and Analysis

Aaron Harper, Chuanyong Lu, Yi Sun, Rafael Garcia, Anton Rets, Herol Alexis, Heba Saad, Ikram Eid, Loretta Harris, Barbara Marshall, Edlira Tafani, Matthew R. Pincus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Goals: The goal of this work was to determine if immediate versus postponed centrifugation of samples affects the levels of serum potassium. Methods: Twenty participants donated normal venous blood that was collected in four serum separator tubes per donor, each of which was analyzed at 0, 1, 2, or 4 hr on the Siemens Advia 1800 autoanalyzer. Results: Coefficients of variation (CVs) for potassium levels ranged from 0% to 7.6% with a mean of 3 ± 2%. ANOVA testing of the means for all 20 samples showed a P-value of 0.72 (>0.05) indicating that there was no statistically significant difference between the means of the samples at the four time points. Sixteen samples were found to have CVs that were ≤5%. Two samples showed increases of potassium from the reference range to levels higher than the upper reference limit, one of which had a 4-hr value that was within the reference or normal range (3.5-5 mEq/l). Overall, most samples were found to have reproducible levels of serum potassium. Conclusions: Serum potassium levels from stored whole blood collected in serum separator tubes are, for the most part, stable at room temperature for at least 4 hr prior to analysis. However, some samples can exhibit significant fluctuations of values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-247
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Laboratory Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Potassium
  • Reproducibility
  • Serum level
  • Storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Hematology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Microbiology (medical)


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