Answer to Question #173997 in General Chemistry for Elizabeth

Question #173997

The technologist in the STAT lab evaluates another problem sample. This specimen had a creamy tomato soup appearance in the heparinized whole blood specimen. The results of laboratory testing are listed below. Test Sodium Potassium Chloride Bicarbonate Anion gap Patient 135 mmol/L 3.6 mmol/L 99 mmol/L 24 mmol/L Reference-Ranges 136-145 3.5-5.1 98-107 22-28 10-20 16 1. How are sodium and potassium commonly measured in the laboratory? 2. What does the creamy appearance of the blood indicate? 3. How can this condition cause methodological interferences for electrolytes?

Expert's answer

The urea and electrolyte (U&E) blood test, which includes the measurement of sodium and potassium concentration in blood plasma, is the most frequently requested chemical test in clinical practice. The precautions to be taken when sampling blood for this test are described.

Blood plasma, normally clear, turns milky whote when levels cholesterol and other fatty substances become high. High levels of these substances have been associated with the development of coronary heart disease but more research is needed before their role is fully understood.

Considering 0-350 mg% of triglyceride as the reference, electrolytes concentration mostly decreased over increasing lipemia. Beyond triglyceride concentration of 650mg%, this decline in electrolytes concentration was statistically significantly for samples in all subgroups.

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