Objective: To determine the effects of storage of arterial and venous blood samples in ice water on blood gas and acid–base measurements.
Design: Prospective, in vitro, laboratory study.
Setting: School of veterinary medicine.
Subjects: Six healthy dogs.
Measurements and main results: Baseline measurements of partial pressure of oxygen (PO2), partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2), pH, hemoglobin concentration (tHb), oxyhemoglobin saturation, and oxygen content (ContO2) were made. Bicarbonate (HCO3) and standard base excess (SBE) were calculated. Arterial and venous blood samples were separated into 1 and 3 mL samples, anaerobically transferred into 3 mL plastic syringes, and stored in ice water for 6 hours. Measurements were repeated at 15, 30 minutes, and 1, 2, 4, and 6 hours after baseline measurements. Arterial (a) PO2 increased significantly from baseline after 30 minutes of storage in the 1 mL samples and after 2 hours in the 3 mL samples. Venous (v) PO2 was significantly increased from baseline after 4 hours in the 1 mL samples and after 6 hours in the 3 mL samples. The pHa significantly decreased after 2 hours of storage in the 1 mL samples and after 4 hours in the 3 mL samples. In both the 1 and 3 mL samples, pHv decreased significantly only after 6 hours. Neither the arterial nor the venous PCO2 values changed significantly in the 1 mL samples and increased only after 6 hours in the 3 mL samples. No significant changes in tHb, ContO2, SBE, or HCO3 were detected.
Conclusions: The PO2 of arterial and venous blood increased significantly when samples were stored in plastic syringes in ice water. These increases are attributable to the diffusion of oxygen from and through the plastic of the syringe into the blood, which occurred at a rate that exceeded metabolic consumption of oxygen by the nucleated cells.