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Stability and robustness of blood variables in an antidoping context.
International Journal of Laboratory Hematology
Introduction: With the setting up of the newly Athlete's Biological Passport antidoping programme, novel guidelines have been introduced to guarantee results beyond reproach. We investigated in this context, the effect of storage time on the variables commonly measured for the haematological passport. We also wanted to assess for these variables, the within and between analyzer variations. Methods: Blood samples were obtained from top level male professional cyclists (27 samples for the first part of the study and 102 for the second part) taking part to major stage races. After collection, they were transported under refrigerated conditions (2 °C < T < 12 °C), delivered to the antidoping laboratory, analysed and then stored at approximately 4 °C to conduct analysis at different time points up to 72 h after delivery. A mixed-model procedure was used to determine the stability of the different variables. Results: As expected haemoglobin concentration was not affected by storage and showed stability for at least 72 h. Under the conditions of our investigation, the reticulocytes percentage showed a much better stability than previous published data (> 48 h) and the technical comparison of the haematology analyzer demonstrated excellent results. Conclusion: In conclusion, our data clearly demonstrate that as long as the World Anti-Doping Agency's guidelines are followed rigorously, all blood results reach the quality level required in the antidoping context.
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