Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Blood collection tubes are much more complex devices than is commonly appreciated by clinical laboratorians. Commercial tubes have multiple components that contribute to the optimal formation of serum or plasma for laboratory analysis.
My research has shown that the silicone surfactant, Silwet L-720, used in blood collection tubes from a major manufacturer interferes with some immunoassays. This surfactant causes desorption of capture antibodies from the solid-phase in some immunoassay reagents. In addition, these tube additives can interfere with other analytical techniques like mass spectrometry.
Since the quality of patient care depends on the quality of all the information that a physician uses in making treatment decisions, blood collection tubes should be manufactured to an extremely high standard like other medical devices. These tube-related interferences unlike patient specimens are not detected by routine quality control or proficiency testing since laboratorians typically do not pour these materials into the tube types used by their lab. Thus, any tube-related interferences will be missed by the clinical lab, which can lead to increased costs due to recollection and retesting, misdiagnosis, erroneous test results, increased turnaround times of test results, delays in patient care, decreased patient satisfaction, and diminished reputation of a healthcare institution.
I am currently testing different types of surfactants and tube wall surface modification on immunoassays. This work will hopefully lead to blood collection tubes with minimum or no assay interferences and a better understanding of the effects of blood collection tube surfactant and additives on clinical assays, particularly, immunoassays.