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A randomised study of nurse collected venous blood and self-collected dried blood spots for the assessment of cardiovascular risk factors in the Understanding Society Innovation Panel.

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Kumari, Meena 
Andrayas, Alexandria 
Al Baghal, Tarek 
Burton, Jonathan 
Crossley, Thomas F 


Dried blood spot (DBS) sample collection has been suggested as a less invasive, cheaper and more convenient alternative to venepuncture, which requires trained personnel, making it a potentially viable approach for self-collection of blood on a large scale. We examine whether participants in a longitudinal survey were willing to provide a DBS sample in different interview settings, and how resulting cardiovascular risk biomarkers compared with those from venous blood to calculate clinical risk. Participants of the Understanding Society Innovation Panel, a representative sample of UK households, were randomly assigned to three modes of interview. Most participants (84%) were interviewed in their allocated mode. Participants (n = 2162) were interviewed by a nurse who collected both a blood sample by venepuncture and a DBS card ('nurse collection') or participants were seen by an interviewer or took part in the survey online to self-collect a DBS card ('self-collection'). All DBS cards were returned in the post after the sample had dried. Lipids (total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides), HbA1c and C-reactive protein were measured in venous and DBS samples and equivalence was calculated. The resultant values were used to confirm equivalent prevalence of risk of cardiovascular disease in each type of blood sample by mode of participation. Of participants interviewed by a nurse 69% consented to venous blood sample and 74% to a DBS sample, while in the self-collection modes, 35% consented to DBS collection. Demographic characteristics of participants in self-collection mode was not different to those in nurse collection mode. The percentage of participants with clinically raised biomarkers did not significantly differ between type of blood collection (for example, 62% had high cholesterol (> 5 mmol/l) measured by venepuncture and 67% had high cholesterol within the self-collected DBS sample (p = 0.13)). While self-collected DBS sampling had a lower response rate to DBS collected by a nurse, participation did not vary by key demographic characteristics. This study demonstrates that DBS collection is a feasible method of sample collection that can provide acceptable measures of clinically relevant biomarkers, enabling the calculation of population levels of cardiovascular disease risk.


Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Shavanthi Rajatileka and Melissa Smart for their significant contribution to the design and management of IP12, and Annette Jäckle for her contribution as Director of the Innovation Panel.


Humans, Cardiovascular Diseases, Risk Factors, Dried Blood Spot Testing, Biomarkers, Cholesterol, HDL, Heart Disease Risk Factors

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) (146281)
National Institute for Health and Care Research (IS-BRC-1215-20014)