Discrepancy between visual and spectrophotometric assessment of sample haemolysis

Ann Clin Biochem 2002;39:521-522
© 2002 Association for Clinical Biochemistry


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Short Reports

Robert Hawkins

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore 308433

Background: This study assessed the agreement between visualgrading of sample haemolysis with automated haemolysis index(H index) measurement on the Roche 917 clinical chemistry analyser.

Methods: The H indices of 800 serum potassium samples and 800EDTA plasma troponin I samples were compared with routine visualgrading of sample haemolysis by technologists. Photographs ofmild (haemoglobin 1 g/L), moderate (2·5 g/L) and severe(5 g/L) haemolysis were available for reference.

Results: For serum samples, the weighted kappa coefficient was0·42 with an 8·0% haemolysis rate determined byvisual inspection and 3·4% by H index. For EDTA-plasmasamples, the weighted kappa coefficient was 0·35 witha 4·5% haemolysis rate determined by visual inspectionand 7·9% by H index.

Conclusion: Visual assessment of sample haemolysis is unreliableand can give variable results depending on sample type. Laboratoriesshould consider investigating sample haemolysis using automatedhaemolysis index measurement as an alternative to visual gradingwhenever it is available.

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