Dried blood spot (DBS) cards perform many functions for sampling blood that is intended for subsequent laboratory analysis, which include: (i) obviating the need for a phlebotomist by using fingersticks, (ii) enhancing the stability of analytes at ambient or elevated environmental conditions, and (iii) simplifying transportation of samples without a cold chain. However, a significant drawback of standard DBS cards is the potential for sampling bias due to unrestricted filling caused by the hematocrit of blood, which often limits quantitative or reproducible measurements. Alternative microsampling technologies have minimized or eliminated this bias by restricting blood distribution, but these approaches deviate from clinical protocols and present a barrier to broad adoption. Herein, we describe a patterned dried blood spot (pDBS) card that uses wax barriers to control the flow and distribution of blood and provide enhanced sampling by minimizing the hematocrit effect. Patterned cards reproducibly fill four replicate extraction zones independent of the hematocrit. We demonstrate a 3-fold improvement in accuracy for the quantitation of hemoglobin using pDBS cards compared to unpatterned cards. Patterned cards also facilitate the near quantitative recovery (ca. 95%) of sodium with no evidence of a statistically significant difference between dried and liquid blood samples. Similarly, recovery of select amino acids was conserved in comparison to a recent report with improved inter-card precision. We anticipate that this approach presents a viable method for preparing and storing samples of blood in limited resource settings while maintaining current clinical protocols for processing and analyzing dried blood spots.
Supporting Information for Baillargeon et al.