Does volumetric absorptive microsampling eliminate the hematocrit bias for caffeine and paraxanthine in dried blood samples? A comparative study.Anal Chim Acta 2015; 881:65-73AC
Volumetric absorptive microsampling (VAMS) is a novel sampling technique that allows the straightforward collection of an accurate volume of blood (approximately 10μL) from a drop or pool of blood by dipping an absorbent polymeric tip into it. The resulting blood microsample is dried and analyzed as a whole. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of VAMS to overcome the hematocrit bias, an important issue in the analysis of dried blood microsamples. An LC-MS/MS method for analysis of the model compounds caffeine and paraxanthine in VAMS samples was fully validated and fulfilled all pre-established criteria. In conjunction with previously validated procedures for dried blood spots (DBS) and blood, this allowed us to set up a meticulous comparative study in which both compounds were determined in over 80 corresponding VAMS, DBS and liquid whole blood samples. These originated from authentic human patient samples, covering a wide hematocrit range (0.21-0.50). By calculating the differences with reference whole blood concentrations, we found that analyte concentrations in VAMS samples were not affected by a bias that changed over the evaluated hematocrit range, in contrast to DBS results. However, VAMS concentrations tend to overestimate whole blood concentrations, as a consistent positive bias was observed. A different behavior of VAMS samples prepared from incurred and spiked blood, combined with a somewhat reduced recovery of caffeine and paraxanthine from VAMS tips at high hematocrit values, an effect that was not observed for DBS using a very similar extraction procedure, was found to be at the basis of the observed VAMS-whole blood deviations. Based on this study, being the first in which the validity and robustness of VAMS is evaluated by analyzing incurred human samples, it can be concluded that VAMS effectively assists in eliminating the effect of hematocrit.