We use whole blood specimens drawn into
lithium-heparin containing tubes with
non-contamination precautions, and analysed with
HRICPMS (high resolution inductively coupled
plasma mass spectrometry) for the most accurate
assessment of metal ion levels.
The problem with using serum, plasma or
erythrocytes is that metal ions are
differentially distributed in the intracellular
and extracellular compartments and introduces
variability. Furthermore the specimen must be
centrifuged and separated locally soon after the
blood sample is drawn. Delay in achieving this
will hemolyze the specimen and can lead to
significant errors in assessment.
Other instrumentations are also used for
analysis. Atomic absorption spectrometry and
Quadrupole ICPMS are used but they are not as
sensitive or reliable as HRICPMS and can also
lead to erroneous values and misinterpretations.