How to Use Dried Blood Spot Cards: A Comprehensive Guide

At-Home Diagnostic Testing

How to Use Dried Blood Spot Cards: A Comprehensive Guide

Ash Team

Dried blood spot (DBS) cards offer a convenient, cost-effective, and minimally invasive alternative to traditional phlebotomy services. Widely used in healthcare settings for various diagnostic tests, DBS cards simplify the process of sample collection and transportation while maintaining sample integrity for accurate laboratory analysis. Providers can use dried blood spot cards to screen patients in a non-clinical setting, including through the implementation of at-home diagnostic testing programs.  

Dried Blood Spot Cards and At-Home Health Testing

Dried blood spot cards are small, absorbent cards designed to collect a precise volume of blood from a finger prick or heel stick. The collected blood is then dried on the card, preserving its stability and integrity for subsequent analysis. DBS cards are used in a wide range of applications, including screening for infectious diseases, monitoring therapeutic drug levels, and conducting newborn screening for metabolic disorders. Dried blood spot cards are often used in at-home health testing kits and are the primary self-collection device necessary to transport blood to a lab. 

Schedule a time to talk with Ash about at-home health testing using dried blood spot cards. 

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Use Dried Blood Spot Cards

Step 1: Open At-Home Health Test Kit

At-home health kits that utilize dried blood spot cards often contain the following items: 

  • Dried blood spot cards
  • Lancet or blood collection device
  • Alcohol swab
  • Gauze pad
  • Adhesive bandage

Step 2: Prepare the Collection Site

Cleanse the finger with an alcohol swab and allow it to dry completely. This helps to minimize the risk of contamination during sample collection.

Step 3: Perform the Blood Collection

Use a lancet or blood collection device to puncture the fingertip, allowing a small droplet of blood to form. Ensure that the blood flows freely without excessive pressure.

Step 4: Apply Blood to the Card

Gently touch the blood droplet to the pre-marked circles on the DBS card. Each circle is designed to hold a specific volume of blood, so ensure that the entire circle is filled without overfilling or smudging adjacent spots.

Step 5: Allow the Blood Spots to Dry

After applying the blood to the card, allow the blood spots to air dry completely. This typically takes 1-2 hours, depending on environmental conditions. Avoid stacking or overlapping cards during drying to prevent smudging.

Step 6: Label and Store the Card

Once the blood spots are dry, label the DBS card with the patient name, date of collection, and any other relevant information. Many at-home health tests come with a biohazard pouch for transportation to the laboratory via mail. 

Benefits of Using Dried Blood Spot Cards

  • Minimally Invasive: Requires only a small finger prick for sample collection, reducing patient discomfort.
  • Cost-Effective: Eliminates the need for venous blood draws and associated healthcare expenses, making it a cost-effective option for sample collection.
  • Stable: Blood samples remain stable on DBS cards for extended periods, allowing for convenient storage and transport without refrigeration.
  • Versatile: Suitable for a wide range of diagnostic tests and applications, including screening, monitoring, and research.

Conclusion for Dried Blood Spot Cards

Dried blood spot cards offer a convenient, reliable, and versatile solution for blood sample collection in healthcare. By following the step-by-step guide outlined above and understanding the benefits of DBS cards, healthcare professionals and patients can leverage this innovative technology to streamline sample collection, improve patient care, and advance medical research. Whether used for routine screening, disease monitoring, or research purposes, dried blood spot cards represent a valuable tool in the pursuit of better health outcomes.

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