Serum or plasma? An old question looking for new answers

Mario Plebani, Giuseppe Banfi, Sergio Bernardini, Francesco Bondanini, Laura Conti, Romolo Dorizzi, Fulvio Enrico Ferrara, Rita Mancini, Tommaso Trenti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Serum or plasma? An old question looking for new answers. There is a continual debate on what type of sample a clinical laboratory should use. While serum is still considered the gold standard and remains the required sample for some assays, laboratories must consider turn-around time, which is an important metric for laboratory performance and, more importantly, plays a critical role in patient care. In addition, a body of evidence emphasise the choice of plasma in order to prevent modifications of some analytes due to the coagulation process and related interferences. Advantages and disadvantages of serum and plasma are discussed on the basis of current literature and evidence. In addition, data are provided on the current utilisation of the samples (serum or plasma) in Italy and in other countries. Finally, a rationale for a possible switch from serum to plasma is provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-187
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • anticoagulants
  • clinical laboratory
  • plasma
  • sample of choice
  • serum
  • whole blood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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