A Novel Whole Blood Capillary Technic for Measuring the Prothrombin Time Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The prothrombin time (PT) is frequently performed to monitor anticoagulant therapy. Although relatively simple to perform, it requires venipuncture and laboratory resources for sample handling and analysis. A recently developed capillary whole blood device that uses fingerstick samples was evaluated. Paired capillary whole blood and reference plasma PTs were performed in 858 samples from 732 subjects. The PT for normal volunteers (n = 193) was 11.8 +/- 0.9 seconds with the use of the new instrument and 12.1 +/- 0.5 seconds with the use of the reference method. In samples from 539 patients receiving anticoagulants, the correlation coefficient between the two methods was 0.96. Venous whole blood without anticoagulant and capillary whole blood gave equivalent results, which suggests that the fingersticks do not effect the quality of the specimen. Variation in hematocrit between 23.4% (0.34) and 53.8% (0.538) did not alter the performance of the instrument. The new instrument is easy to use and may allow testing by nonlaboratory personnel and patients. It obviates the need for venipuncture, provides immediate results, and appears to be comparable in accuracy to current reference methods.


  • Lucas, Fred V
  • Duncan, Alexander
  • Jay, Richard
  • Coleman, Robert
  • Craft, Paula
  • Chan, Beatrice
  • Winfrey, Laura
  • Mungall, Dennis R
  • Hirsh, Jack

publication date

  • October 1, 1987