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May 4, 1994

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

Author Affiliations

From the Salt Lake City-County (Utah) Health Department (Dr Schlenker); Children's Hospital of Wisconsin (Ms Fritz) and Departments of Family Medicine (Dr Mark) and Pediatrics (Dr Layde), Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Milwaukee Health Department (Dr Linke and Ms Murphy); and the National Center for Environmental Health, Lead Poisoning Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga (Dr Matte).

JAMA. 1994;271(17):1346-1348. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510410058033

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)