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The use of unactivated blood for hemocompatibility testing is essential to obtain reliable results. Here, the authors study the influence of heparinized whole blood storage time and temperature on blood activation and evaluate the importance of initiating hemocompatibility tests within 4 h of blood collection. Blood from healthy volunteers was collected and analyzed with minimal delay, after 30 min and after 60 min of storage at room temperature, 30 or 37 °C. In addition, blood was analyzed after 1, 2, or 4 h of storage at room temperature. Platelet count, mean platelet volume, platelet binding capacity to collagen and thromboxane B2 were measured to assess platelet function, complement complex C5b-9 and elastase were measured to assess activation of the inflammatory response system, and thrombin-antithrombin III was measured to assess activation of the coagulation system. Furthermore, free hemoglobin was measured in platelet poor plasma as an indicator for red blood cell damage. The authors found that storage at 30 °C significantly increased platelet and coagulation activity after 60 min and storage at 37 °C significantly increased platelet, coagulation, and white blood cell activity after 60 min. Storage at room temperature significantly decreased platelet binding to collagen after 4 h and increased platelet activity after 1 h onward and white blood cell activity after 4 h. Their results show that short-term storage of heparinized whole blood significantly influences biomarkers over time, especially at 30 and 37 °C compared to room temperature. However, blood stored at room temperature for 4 h is also affected. In particular, platelet function and white blood cell activity are significantly influenced after 4 h of stationary storage at room temperature; therefore, the authors propose that hemocompatibility tests should be initiated well within 4 h of blood collection, preferably within 2 h.


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