Temperature Ranges

Frozen (dry ice): -20 degrees C or Colder (-4 degrees F or Colder)
Please note: The couriers carry dry ice. Please inform the courier of a frozen specimen. Do not use glass or serum separator tubes to freeze specimens.

Refrigerated: +2 to +8 degrees C (35.6 to 46.4 degrees F)

Ambient / Room Temperature: +18 to +24 degrees C (64.4 to 75.2 degrees F)

Iced Specimens: The proper handling of iced specimens is as follows
1. Use refrigerated centrifuge whenever possible. The recommendations for specimen handling remains
the same no matter what centrifuge is used.
2. Pre-Chill tubes when possible.
3. Put tube in ice immediately after drawing specimen.
4. Centrifuge as soon as possible after drawing. Spin for the recommended times.
5. Separate plasma from cells immediately after centrifuging.
6. Place on ice or freeze immediately.
7. Transport to lab as soon as possible. If specimen will be in transit for > 15 minutes sending the
specimen frozen may be better.

Fasting Procedures
The definition of fasting for PHL is as follows: 

1. Nothing to eat after the evening meal. (Time between the last meal and the collection of the blood sample should be 9 - 14 hours unless otherwise specified in the test)
2. Small amounts of water can be consumed to take normal medications, unless the doctor instructs the patient not to take medicines.  
3. No coffee, tea, or diet drinks are permitted.
4. Smoking is permitted only if the patient displays withdrawal symptoms.


Specimen Requirment Definitions


Serum

Please draw blood in the appropriate color-coded tube. These tubes do not contain an anticoagulant but should be inverted 8-10 times. Allow the blood to remain at ambient temperature for 30 minutes, but no longer than one hour. Centrifuge at 2500 rpm for at least 10 minutes. Send the laboratory the gold serum separator tube. Process the plain red top tubes according to the assay requirements listed in the alphabetical test directory.

Acute and Convalescent Serum

Collect blood as listed above for serum, no more than 5-7 days after onset of illness. This is the acute specimen, refrigerate specimen. The convalescent specimen should be collected 14-21 days after the onset of the illness and refrigerate. 

Plasma

Please draw blood in the appropriate color-coded tube. These tubes contain an anticoagulant to prevent clotting. After the tube is filled please invert the tube 8-10 times. Store blood at the recommended temperature until the courier arrives. 

Clotted Whole Blood

Please draw the blood in the appropriate color-coded tube. These tubes do not contain an anticoagulant. After the tube is filled please invert the tube 8-10 times. Store at the recommended temperature until courier arrives. 

Whole Blood

Please draw the appropriate color-coded tube. These tubes contain an anticoagulant to prevent clotting. After the tube is filled please invert the tube 8-10 times. Store blood at the recommended temperature until the courier arrives. 

Stool Specimens

Collect the stool in a sterile leak proof container or into a clean bedpan. Do not pass the stool into the toilet. Do not urinate on the specimen. Transfer the required amount of stool into the proper container or transport media. Please note the special time frames for each individual test listed in the alphabetical listings. 

Urine Specimens

Random specimen: Urine should be collected in a sterile urine container and transferred to a urine vial. Best results are obtained on "First AM" specimens. This specimen needs to be refrigerated until the courier arrives.

Timed specimens: At the beginning of the test period the patient should be instructed to completely empty the bladder. The test begins at this time and the subsequent specimens should be collected and time noted on each specimen container. Example Doe, John 1/14/00, 3 hr specimen 

24-Hour specimen: Instruct the patient what time collection is to be started, ie. 8:00 AM At this time, the patient should empty their bladder and discard the urine. All urine thereafter should be collected for 24 hours and the bladder should be emptied 24 hours after collection was started, ie. at 8:00 AM the following day and this urine should be saved. Follow directions provided in the alphabetized test listing for proper storage for specimen during and after collection.

Platelet-poor Plasma

1. Draw a plain red top tube to remove tissue fluid contamination. Discard this tube.
2. Draw blood into a buffered citrate collection tube (light blue top) filled to proper level. Do not overfill.
3. The blood-to-anticoagulant ratio should be 9:1; inadequate filling of the collection device will decrease this ratio and may lead to inaccurate results.
4. Invert gently 6 times to mix. Process immediately.
5. Centrifuge for 15 min at 2500 x g.
6. Remove plasma using a plastic pipette to transfer into a new tube.
7. Repeat centrifugation at 2500 x g for 15 minutes to assure complete platelet removal.
8. Dispense the plasma into 2 or more plastic tubes using a plastic transfer pipette. Label tubes appropriately. 
9. Freeze immediately
10. Specimen must remain frozen at all times.