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What is the difference between the use of «citrate» and «EDTA» as an anticoagulant in medicine (I know that each one is used for some dosages but not the other, but I need to know why)?

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    I'm not familiar with using citrate or EDTA as an anticoagulant in medical care (i.e. as a drug). However, it is often used in blood sampling tubes so that the blood sample does not clot. As to their difference, EDTA works irreversibly while citrate is reversible. EDTA is used more often most notably to get the complete blood count. Citrate is mostly used to assess the bloods ability to clot (by reversing the anticoagulation). In rare cases we need to use citrate tubes to assess platelet numbers since EDTA makes the platelets cling together, this is called EDTA agglutination. – Sæmundur Rögnvaldsson Oct 16 at 15:56
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    @SæmundurRögnvaldsson That seems like an answer; SE prefers that answers be posted as answers, because comments are temporary, don't allow full voting etc. – Bryan Krause Oct 16 at 16:34
  • I want to know that when we say EDTA is irreversible that's mean when we add calcium in (the sample + EDTA) blood won't coagulte but in presences of (sample + citrate) blood will restart coagulation, yes? ... If this is true, could you explain the mechanism that make EDTA with irreversible action? (For citrate, I think he just chelate the calcium) – user16752 Oct 16 at 16:39
  • @user16752 What has your prior research revealed? – Carey Gregory Oct 16 at 19:50
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    @user16752 Where did you look and what did you look for? The way you've worded this question makes it appear you're asking how these elements behave when used as anticoagulants in human patients and I don't believe they're used that way. If your search was similarly constructed, that might explain why you're not finding what you want. – Carey Gregory Oct 16 at 22:23
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I'm not familiar with using citrate or EDTA as an anticoagulant in medical care (i.e. as a drug). However, it is often used in blood sampling tubes so that the blood sample does not clot.

As to their difference, EDTA works irreversibly while citrate is reversible. EDTA is used more often most notably to get the complete blood count. Citrate is mostly used to assess the bloods ability to clot (by reversing the anticoagulation). In rare cases we need to use citrate tubes to assess platelet numbers since EDTA makes the platelets cling together, this is called EDTA agglutination.

Regarding the mechanisms behind the anticoagulation, EDTA irreversibly binds calcium ions which are essential for many enzymes in the coagulation cascade. Citrate also binds calcium ions but also seems to affect other parts of the coagulation cascade.

References:

Banfi et. al. (2007)The role of ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) as in vitro anticoagulant for diagnostic purposes. Clin Chem & Lab Med; 45(5): p565-76

Mann et. al. (2007) Citrate anticoagulation and the dynamics of thrombin generation.J ThrombHaemost;5: 2055–61

  • I want to know that when we say EDTA is irreversible that's mean when we add calcium in (the sample + EDTA) blood won't coagulte but in presences of (sample + citrate) blood will restart coagulation, yes? ... If this is true, could you explain the mechanism that make EDTA with irreversible action? (For citrate, I think he just chelate the calcium) – user16752 Oct 17 at 19:24
  • @user16752 EDTA is a chelator and irreversibly binds calcium ions. However, you could add so much calcium to the probe that the coagulation will start. It's a simple question of quantity. – Narusan Oct 19 at 16:48

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