Mikael Häggström, M.D. [note 1]
Memorization-worthy:[note 2] For the most likely types of cases and/or questions that you may be responsible for, know where to find local policies and procedures, and have a good idea of whom to ask for further advice. Make sure you have access and/or contact details for whenever and wherever you are likely to need them.
Topics with own articles
Sample tube types
The following is an overview of the main types of sample tube types, organized by order of draw (the recommended sequence by which fluid is drawn) during blood draws:
|Tube cap color or type in order of draw||Additive||Usage and comments|
|Blood culture bottle||Sodium polyanethol sulfonate (anticoagulant) and growth media for microorganisms||Usually drawn first for minimal risk of contamination. Two bottles are typically collected in one blood draw; one for aerobic organisms and one for anaerobic organisms.|
|Light blue||Sodium citrate (anticoagulant)||Coagulation tests such as prothrombin time (PT) and partial thromboplastin time (PTT) and thrombin time (TT). Tube must be filled 100%.|
|Plain red||No additive||Serum: Total complement activity, cryoglobulins|
|Gold (sometimes red and grey "tiger top")||Clot activator and serum separating gel||Serum-separating tube: Tube inversions promote clotting. Most chemistry, endocrine and serology tests, including hepatitis and HIV.|
|Dark green||Sodium heparin (anticoagulant)||Chromosome testing, HLA typing, ammonia, lactate|
|Light green||Lithium heparin (anticoagulant)||Plasma. Tube inversions prevent clotting|
|Lavender ("purple")||EDTA (chelator / anticoagulant)||Whole blood: CBC, ESR, Coombs test, platelet antibodies, flow cytometry, blood levels of tacrolimus and cyclosporin|
|Pink||EDTA (chelator / anticoagulant)||Blood typing and cross-matching, direct Coombs test, HIV viral load|
|Royal blue||EDTA (chelator / anticoagulant)||Trace elements, heavy metals, most drug levels, toxicology|
|Tan||EDTA (chelator / anticoagulant)||Lead|
|Yellow||Acid-citrate-dextrose A (anticoagulant)||Tissue typing, DNA studies, HIV cultures|
|Pearl ("white")||Separating gel and (K2)EDTA||PCR for adenovirus, toxoplasma and HHV-6|
Lab management is essentially about handling each of the extremely various lab-related situations that arise, and can generally be achieved by:
- Common sense
- Gathering enough information before a decision
- Identifying what questions needs answering
- Asking proper expertise and/or looking up relevant information in proper sources (see learning pathology), which may include local protocols as well as policies of accrediting organizations of the department (which are generally more stringent than the national or regional laws).
(You may skip this question if you don't expect to ever be part of laboratory management in the US.)
You work in a pathology department in the United States, which is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP). Your local procedure manual states that non-forensic paraffin-embedded blocks must be retained for at least 10 years before being thrown away. In order to save storage space, one suggestion that gets brought up is to reduce the retention time to 5 years. You look up the issue, and find that federal U.S. law (the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments; CLIA) states that such blocks must be retained for at least 2 years. Is it acceptable to finish the look-up here, and agree to reduce the retention time of non-forensic paraffin-embedded blocks to 5 years in this department?
- Pagana, KD; Pagana, TJ; Pagana, TN (19 September 2014). Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference - E-Book . Elsevier Health Sciences. ISBN 978-0-323-22592-2.
- "Chapter 3.4.1: Blood cultures; general detection and interpretation". Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook . Wiley. 6 August 2020. ISBN 978-1-55581-881-4.
- . Test Tube Guide and Order of Draw. Guthrie Laboratory Services (June 2019).
- . Specimen requirements/containers. Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, UCI School of Medicine.
- "Effects of standard anticoagulants and storage procedures on plasma glucose values in seals. ". J Am Vet Med Assoc 201 (1): 145–8. 1992. PMID 1644639. Archived from the original. .
- Amitava Dasgupta; Jorge L. Sepulveda (20 July 2019). Accurate Results in the Clinical Laboratory: A Guide to Error Detection and Correction . Elsevier Science. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-12-813777-2.
- . 42 CFR § 493.1105 - Standard: Retention requirements.. Cornell Law School. [68 FR 3703, Jan. 24, 2003; 68 FR 50723, Aug. 22, 2003]
- . CAP Policy Manual - Policy PP. Minimum Period of Retention of Laboratory Records and Materials. CAP.org. Adopted August 1995. Revised September 2020