Results not valid due to glycolysis
April 4, 2008 4:03 PM   Subscribe

I just got blood tests back from doing an insurance screening, and the row for glucose says: "results not valid due to glycolysis" What is that? Is that a problem I should look into?
posted by GregX3 to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
Glycolysis is simply the breakdown of glucose. Inside your body, it's a normal (essential in fact) process, and everything from yeast to plants to animals can perform glycolysis.

I am guessing that the test somehow detected that glucose had been broken down, outside of your body, after the blood was drawn from you, but before levels could be analyzed, rendering the readings inaccurate and unreliable.
posted by NucleophilicAttack at 4:16 PM on April 4, 2008

Truthfully, I don't even see how they could say that actually. Glycolysis is a natural process as stated above, but if it's just a regular glc check, that's one weird answer....
posted by uncballzer at 4:46 PM on April 4, 2008

The instructions for this home blood test kit [google-ified pdf->html] suggests that if the blood is stored too long (>10 minutes), blood glucose levels will begin to be depleted.

I'm guessing that the white blood cells in your blood sample gobbled up the free glucose before that part of the test could be performed.

Did the insurance nurse do the test right away or did the blood sample get sent off?
posted by porpoise at 4:56 PM on April 4, 2008

Similarly if you let blood sit in a tube cells will lyse and spill a bunch of potassium. It's the most common reason for potassium to be elevated on a test. It's possible that they know that the sample was out too long. It's also possible that the result just came back as low or very low (they're screening for high BG, which is common and a sign of diabetes). It's possible to have low BG for medical reasons, but more likely to be a test error. Is the K+ also listed as high/borderline?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:39 PM on April 4, 2008

It got sent off. So that probably explains it.
posted by GregX3 at 5:40 PM on April 4, 2008

Sometimes bloods are run from plain/gel/sst tubes which doesn't have the special additive (Glycolytic Inhibitor) in it that special glucose tubes have that stabilises the glucose till it can be tested. This isn't a problem if the specimen is refrigerated, centrifuged or tested quickly but otherwise, I'm guessing it didn't happen in time before it "went off". Just my theory.

Worked in for a pathology lab through university....
posted by taff at 2:30 AM on April 5, 2008

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