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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Authentic and Spurious Causes of Thrombocytopenia. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Preanalytic Variable Leading to False Thrombocytopenia

The platelet count is only as good as the sample collected. Blood samples that are collected in EDTA or sodium citrate tubes for coagulation purposes should be inverted 5 - 10 times for proper mixing of the anticoagulant and the blood. If the tube is not mixed, small fibrin clots may form (similar to those found in the image to the right), causing a falsely decreased platelet count.