Hemolyzed Blood Specimens

Hemolysis is a common occurrence in blood specimens which may compromise laboratory test results. Hemolysis may be due to specimen collection, processing, or transport. Hemolysis may also be due to pathological conditions, such as immune reactions, infections, medications, toxins and poisons, and therapeutic procedures. Frequently, laboratory testing can still be performed on a hemolyzed sample. The Department of Pathology tracks the frequency of hemolyzed samples and monitors the data as part of our Quality Assurance programs.

Note that our clinical laboratory utilizes the common standard of cancelling a laboratory test if a source of interference, such as hemolysis, affects the answer by plus or minus 10%. Because of the large number of specimens that are received, only the following test cancellations are called - acetaminophen, amylase, ethanol, glucose, potassium, ammonia, and troponin. All other cancelled tests can be found under the cancelled test tab in IPR. This may change when EPIC is introduced. An ordering physician can request that a result be posted regardless of interference by calling the laboratory. This result will be posted with a disclaimer. Questions can be directed to R. Feld (6-1759).