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Screening for Pediatric Lead Poisoning Comparability of Simultaneously Drawn Capillary and Venous Blood Samples

Thomas L. Schlenker, MD, MPH; Carol Johnson Fritz, RN; David Mark, MD, MPH; Margaret Layde, MD; George Linke, PhD; Amy Murphy, MPH; Thomas Matte, MD, MPH
JAMA. 1994;271(17):1346-1348. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510410058033.
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Objective.  —To determine the ability of capillary blood lead levels to accurately reflect true blood lead levels in children at risk for lead poisoning.

Design.  —A correlation study in which lead levels of capillary blood specimens obtained by four different methods were compared with lead levels of simultaneously drawn venous blood specimens.

Setting.  —A central-city pediatric primary care clinic and door-to-door home visits in one central-city neighborhood.

Patients.  —Two hundred ninety-five children at high risk for lead poisoning aged 6 months to 6 years.

Main Outcome Measures.  —Blood lead levels of simultaneously drawn capillary and venous blood specimens.

Results.  —Lead levels of all four capillary sampling methods were highly correlated (correlation coefficient ≥0.96) with matched venous blood lead levels, with mean capillary-venous differences less than 0.05 μmol/L (1 μg/dL).

Conclusions.  —Capillary sampling is an acceptable alternative to venipuncture for lead-poisoning screening in young children.(JAMA. 1994;271:1346-1348)


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