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Propofol is an intravenous anesthetic commonly used due to its favorable pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile. There are discrepancies in the literature about the most appropriate sample for determining propofol concentrations. Although plasma has been used for determining propofol concentrations, whole blood has been the preferred sample because propofol is significantly bound to erythrocytes. There is also a lack of consistency in the literature on the effect of storage time and temperature on propofol concentrations and this may lead to errors in the design of pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics studies. The purpose of this study was to determine the difference in propofol concentrations in whole blood versus plasma and to evaluate the influence of storage time (56 days) and temperature (4°C, -20°C, -80°C) on the stability of propofol concentrations in blood and plasma samples. Results from the study indicate that whole blood and plasma samples containing propofol were stable for at least 56 days when stored at -80°C; thus, -80°C is the most appropriate temperature for propofol sample storage out of the three temperatures evaluated. Plasma propofol concentrations were consistently higher than whole blood for all 3 storage temperatures. Consequently, plasma is the most appropriate sample for propofol analysis due to its consistent determinations.
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