Convenience of Collecting Dried Blood Spots at Home for Hormone Testing in the Laboratory

COVID-19 is Making Blood Draw Clinics a Scary Place to Be

In today’s scary world of rapidly spreading COVID-19 infections, most individuals are hesitant to have their health care provider, or worse, a stranger at a blood draw clinic, violate their mandated social space of 6 feet to allow them to stick a needle in their vein and draw blood for testing hormones. It is understandable why during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic both the physician and staff would rather limit physical contact as much as possible with a potentially infectious COVID-19 patient, and vice versa. Some patients suffering from severe hormonal imbalances that affect their quality of life and ability to cope through these difficult times may just choose to suffer through it needlessly, because they consider the risk of social contact to have their blood drawn too great.

Solving the Problem of Blood Draws for Hormone Testing

There is a solution to this problem for both the health care provider and patient, and it’s something ZRT has been doing for the past 15 years. It’s collection of blood by the patient at home from a simple finger-prick. Kits containing a lancet and filter card along with directions are given to the patient at the doctor’s office or drop-shipped by order of the physician to the patient. At the patient’s convenience the finger is pricked with a small lancet, and blood drops are collected on a filter card and allowed to dry for at least 4 hours. Once dried, the filter card is then safely packaged at the patient’s home and from there sent by mail directly to ZRT Laboratory for testing. Special preservation on ice, as required for liquid blood serum or plasma, is not necessary for shipping since the hormones and other analytes in dried blood are stable for weeks at room temperature. Better yet, the drying of blood kills infectious pathogens like viruses and bacteria. That’s good news for everyone – the physician who doesn’t have to draw blood, the patient who doesn’t have to leave their home to have blood drawn, and the laboratory staff who process the dried blood spots. 

Getting the Hormone Test Results to You and Your Doctor without Leaving Home

Once the requested tests are performed by ZRT Laboratory, the results are then provided to the practitioner and patient electronically. On average turnaround time once the sample reaches the laboratory takes about 2-4 days depending on the tests requested and day of arrival. Physician consultations regarding test results and recommendations for therapy can then be done over the phone. The patient never has to leave home through the entire process and physician-patient contact is limited, at least while we’re all hunkered down at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finger-stick Dried Blood Spot Test Results Equivalent to Venipuncture Serum or Plasma

Many research studies have shown the advantages of dried blood over liquid blood for testing hormones (see references). Over the past 15 years ZRT has developed, validated, and put to the test through publications in the scientific literature and presentations at scientific conferences a broad array of tests commercialized for hormones (estrogens, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, thyroid hormones, etc.) as well as essential elements and toxic heavy metals using the dried blood method. Hormones in capillary blood drawn from the finger and dried as blood spots have been shown to be quantitatively equivalent to levels seen in serum or plasma derived by venipuncture and the units of measurement and ranges are also near equivalent. This makes the transition to dried blood spot testing from serum/plasma testing simple as well as convenient for these difficult times.

To find out more about ZRT’s innovative, simple, and convenient DBS testing please visit or contact ZRT at 866.600.1636.


  1. A comparison of blood spot vs. plasma analysis of gonadotropin and ovarian steroid hormone levels in reproductive-age women. Edelman A, Stouffer R, Zava DT, Jensen JT. Fertil Steril 2007; 88:1404-7.
  2. Percutaneous progesterone delivery via cream or gel application in postmenopausal women: a randomized cross-over study of progesterone levels in serum, whole blood, saliva, and capillary blood." Du JY, Sanchez P, Kim L, Azen CG, Zava DT, Stanczyk FZ. Menopause 2013; 20:1169-1175.
  3. Analysis of the Use of Dried Blood Spot Measurements in Disease Screening. Lakshmy R. J Diabetes Sci Technol 2008; 2: 242-243.
  4. Cardiometabolic risk factors assessed by a finger stick dried blood spot method." Kapur S, Kapur S, Zava D. J Diabetes Sci Technol 2008; 2: 236-241.
  5. A liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry method for determination of 25-hydroxy vitamin D2 and 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 in dried blood spots: a potential adjunct to diabetes and cardiometabolic risk screening. Newman MS, Brandon TR, Groves MN, Gregory WL, Kapur S, Zava DT. J Diabetes Sci Technol 2009; 3:156-62.
  6. Challenges of Blood Spot Heavy Metal Testing – Using Blood Spot Area to Correct for Abnormal Sample Spread when Sample Matrix is Unknown. Zava TT. 71st American Association for Clinical Chemistry Annual Scientific Meeting, Anaheim, CA, August 4-8 2019. See the poster presented.
  7. Dried Urine and Blood Spot Analysis of Essential and Toxic Elements by ICP-DRC-MS with an Emphasis on Inter-Assay Stability of Samples Kept at Room Temperature. Zava TT. 69thAmerican Association for Clinical Chemistry Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, San Diego, CA, July 30-August 3 2017. Abstract A402. See the poster presented.
  8. Dried Urine and Blood Spot Analysis of Essential and Toxic Elements by ICP-DRC-MS with an Emphasis on Inter-Assay Stability of Samples Kept at Room Temperature. Zava TT. 69thAmerican Association for Clinical Chemistry Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, San Diego, CA, July 30-August 3 2017. Abstract A402. See the poster presented.
  9. Gonadotropin and steroid hormone testing by conventional serum venipuncture and finger-stick dried blood spot.  Zava D, Kapur S, Kashi ZM.  Endocrine Society Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, June 24-26 2006. See the poster presented.
  10. Filter paper dried blood spot assay of insulin measurement.  Zava D, Kapur S, Kashi ZM.  American Diabetes Association 66th Scientific Sessions, Washington DC, June 9-13 2006; Poster 600-P.  See the poster presented.
  11. Gender differences in high-sensitivity C-reactive protein as determined by dried blood spot assay. Kapur S, Kapur S, Zava D. The Endocrine Society’s 89th Annual Meeting, Toronto, June 2-5, 2007. See the poster presented.
  12. Metabolic syndrome wellness screening program using dried blood spot. Kapur S, Meyer W, Kapur S, Zava D. American Diabetes Association 67th Scientific Sessions, Chicago, IL, June 22-26, 2007; Abstract 2289-PO.
  13. Filter paper-dried blood spot assay of hemoglobin A1c. Kapur S, Kapur S, Zava D. American Diabetes Association 67th Scientific Sessions, Chicago, IL, June 22-26, 2007; Abstract 2287-PO.
  14. Dried blood spot screening of cardiometabolic risks. Kapur S, Kapur S, Zava D. American Academy of Clinical Cardiology Annual Meeting, San Diego, July 15-19, 2007.
  15. Cardiometabolic health monitoring using dried blood spot. Kapur S, Kapur S, Zava D. J Diabetes Sci Technoland 7th Annual Diabetes Technology Meeting, San Francisco, October 25-26, 2007.
  16. Quantitative analysis of 25-hydroxyvitamins D2 and D3 in dried bloodspot by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry. Newman MS, Zava DT, Brandon TR, Groves MN. Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting, Honolulu, May 2-6, 2008. See the poster presented.
  17. Dried blood spot screening for cardiometabolic risk markers shows benefit of exercise. Kapur S, Kapur S, Groves M, Zava D. American Diabetes Association 68th Scientific Sessions, San Francisco, June 6-10, 2008; Abstract 1046-P. See the poster presented.
  18. Dried blood spot study shows improvement of cardiometabolic risk with higher testosterone levels in men. Kapur S, Kapur S, Norris W, Groves M, Zava D. Diabetes Science and Technology Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, Nov. 13-15, 2008.
  19. Cardiovascular risk screening using simple and convenient dried blood spot technology. Kapur S, Kapur S, Groves M. Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association 16th Annual Scientific Meeting,Chicago, IL, April 15-17, 2010. Abstract published in J Cardiovasc Nursing 2010; 25(5):369. See the abstract bookSee the poster presented.
  20. Hormone measures in finger-prick blood spot samples: new field methods for reproductive endocrinology. Worthman CM, Stallings JF. Am J Phys Anthropol 1997; 104:1-21.
  21. Measurement of gonadal hormones in dried blood spots versus serum: verification of menstrual cycle phase. Shirtcliff EA, Reavis R, Overman WH, Granger DA. Horm Behav 2001; 39:258-66.
  22. Assessing estradiol in biobehavioral studies using saliva and blood spots: simple radioimmunoassay protocols, reliability, and comparative validity. Shirtcliff EA, Granger DA, Schwartz EB, Curran MJ, Booth A, Overman WH. Horm Behav 2000; 38:137-47.
  23. What a drop can do: dried blood spots as a minimally invasive method for integrating biomarkers into population-based research. McDade TW, Williams S, Snodgrass JJ. Demography. 2007;44:899-925.

Useful Resources

Provider Data Sheet: The Science of Dried Blood Spot Testing

Testing Thyroid Hormones

Testing Elements

Testing Hormonal Imbalances in Menopause

How to Collect Samples at Home