Drawing blood samples through a central venous catheter (CVC) is a customary practice in Intensive Care Units (ICUs). It is indicated to discard a volume of waste blood to avoid interference in the results.
To determine whether a lower discard volume for obtaining blood samples from temporary CVCs placed into the internal jugular, femoral or subclavian vein offers valid results.
A quasi-experimental prospective cross-sectional study for which sixty-five patients of over 18 years of age in ICUs, who had been fitted with a triple lumen central venous catheter, were recruited over a period of eight months. Two consecutive blood samples were extracted with tubes for biochemistry, coagulation and hemogram from each patient from the distal lumen. The first sample was obtained with a discarded waste of 1.5 ml from a total extracted volume of 10.2 ml, similar to the usual waste in our ambit (10 ml). Subsequently the second sample was obtained. The paired t-test was used to analyse the data. The Bland-Altman plot and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) were used to measure the agreement between methods. The reference change value (RCV) was established as the admissible limit of variation between the pairs of samples.
A total of 65 sample pairs were drawn (intervention-control). The paired t-test found statistically significant differences with a significance level of α = .05 for chlorine (-.536; .012); prothrombin time (-.092; .019) and prothrombin activity (.284; 1.375).The ICC was greater than .9 in all the variables and the limit determined for the RCV was not surpassed by any value.
The results show the reliability of the blood samples drawn with a discard volume of 1.5 ml.

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