False-positive flag of WBC and change of mean platelet volume (MPV) caused by K3-EDTA on the DxH 900 hematology analyzer

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During the evaluation of the DxH 900 hematology analyzer (Beckman Coulter, Miami, FL), we noted that some patient samples produced a false positive white blood cell (WBC) flag, neutrophil blasts (NE-blast), despite the absence of abnormal cells. We investigated whether storage time or anticoagulants such as K2- or K3-ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) would affect complete blood count (CBC) tests on the DxH 900. Sixty-four whole blood samples were collected in K3-EDTA tubes, and 44 were simultaneously drawn in K2-EDTA tubes. Samples were tested at the following two intervals: within 30 min of collection (0 min) and after an additional 30 min of roller-mixing at room temperature (30 min). WBC differential dataplots in 0-min K3-EDTA tubes showed a mixed cell population between lymphocytes and neutrophils in 22 patients presenting the NE-blast flag. All 22 samples revealed normal WBC differential dataplots after 30 min of roller-mixing. The significantly lower mean neutrophil volume in specimens of 0-min K3-EDTA tubes than those of 0-min K2-EDTA, 30-min K2-EDTA and 30-min K3-EDTA tubes appear to be the cause of the false flag. Unlike blood cell counts, mean platelet volume (MPV) was significantly higher at 30 min using both EDTA tubes than that at 0 min. In conclusion, K3-EDTA can produce a false positive flag, NE-blast, on the DxH 900. MPV increases over time irrespective of EDTA salt type.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-648
Number of pages5
JournalScandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Medisinsk Fysiologisk Forenings Forlag (MFFF).


  • K2 EDTA
  • K3 EDTA
  • WBC differential
  • hematology analyzer
  • mean platelet volume


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