BLOOD TESTS ∙ 2 minutes read

What causes errors in blood test results?

By Emily Cameron

At-home blood tests are becoming more and more popular, for many reasons: they offer quick results, you can take them from the comfort of your own home, and you can gain important insights into your health and wellbeing. For this reason, we offer two types of blood tests: one that looks at the underlying causes of erectile dysfunction, as well as our At-Home Health MOT,  that measures important biomarkers (such as testosterone, cholesterol, and your vitamin D level) to give you an accurate insight into your health. 

For most, taking a finger-prick blood test from home is a simple activity that yields results in just a few days. However, sometimes there may be problems with the blood sample collected that means the results are not able to be read. This is common, and there are a number of possible reasons why this might happen. 

1. Your blood sample may become clotted

Blood clotting in response to an injury is an important and healthy process which ensures that you don’t lose too much blood. However, if the blood clots, even partially, before it is in the lab, the blood will not be able to be analysed.  

To prevent this from happening, you should ensure that you thoroughly mix the blood sample with the additive in the vial by inverting it several times, as soon as possible, once the tube is filled. If you are struggling to draw blood or if it is taking a while, gently swirl the blood in the tube for a few seconds to ensure it mixes with the coagulant, and continue the process. 

2. Your blood sample may become haemolysed

Haemolysis occurs when the red blood cells rupture, and release haemoglobin or potassium into the surrounding plasma, making a blood sample unable to be tested sufficiently. This happens when the finger is squeezed too hard or if the blood is scraped into the vial when drawing blood. To prevent this from happening, massage your finger slowly in a milking motion and allow the droplets of blood to fall gently into the vial. 

3. Your blood sample may not be sufficient 

When you receive your at-home blood test, the vials provided will be marked with a line that you should fill them to. If you send your sample to the lab and there is not a sufficient amount of blood to analyse, then they will struggle to provide you with accurate results.

4. Your sample may not be labelled correctly

If you haven’t filled your personal details on the label provided, the lab won’t be able to get in touch with you to provide you with your results. Make sure to complete the included form and the vial label(s) provided, and pack them in the envelope when sending off your sample. 

The bottom line

While taking a finger-prick blood test at home is a straightforward activity for most people, it is common for the lab to sometimes find an error in the sample provided. If it is your first time trying an at-home blood test, don’t worry, as many people have more success with their second attempt. You can check out our top tips for successfully taking an at-home finger-prick blood test here

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