Why is my blood test result labelled insufficient?

Why is my blood test result labelled insufficient?

Sometimes a blood sample cannot be analysed because there has been an insufficient amount of blood provided. What does this mean and how can you try to prevent this from happening? Let's explain.

What does an 'insufficient sample' mean?

An insufficient sample is one of the main causes of an error in a blood sample. It means that there was not enough viable blood available to run some or all of the tests.

There are two possible causes for this:


1. Not enough blood was collected by the user. 

This is quite common when using at-home blood testing kits. Oftentimes, not enough blood was provided in the tubes which means the laboratories are unable to analyse a full blood screen.

Following the instructions provided in your kit is very important. For Welzo at-home blood testing kits you must fill up the tubes as follows:

  • Yellow tube = 600 line
  • Purple tube = 250 line


2. There was not enough serum in the blood.

Another reason is that you may have provided enough blood in your collection tubes but there could have been a lack of blood serum (the fluid component of the blood).

This means that the blood you provided did not contain enough of the element (serum) that the laboratory needs to measure the biomarkers (e.g. iron, vitamin D, etc.) in the sample.

Sometimes there is enough serum to receive partial results from your sample. This may be because there was enough blood to run the first few screens but not enough to complete a full analysis of all the biomarkers.


Causes and preventative steps

Sometimes, factors such as dehydration at the time of taking a test can affect the quantity of the blood serum. We've compiled some helpful tips to ensure you have a good sample collection:

  • Be properly hydrated: try to start hydrating the day before your test. Even if you believe you are well hydrated, have a glass of water in the hour before you take your test sample.
  • Get warm: encourage blood flow to your finger to ensure your fingers aren't cold to the touch. Try to warm up the area by having a shower or soaking your hand in warm/hot water. You can also try to do some exercises such as stretching or walking around.
  • Move your arm: decide which finger you'll be using for your test and ensure you get the blood flowing to that area. This can be done by swinging your arm in a circle or clenching your fists several times.
  • Keep your hand low: gravity can help you fill up your tube, so make sure your arm is below your heart when taking your sample.
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