Guidelines for safe specimen transporting – preanalysis part 3
We are still talking about the introduction of sample collection and in this part we will talk about part three of the pre-analysis stage applied in the clinical labs and it is important to reduce the errors that can affect the test result.
In this part we will talk about the general guidelines of the sample transporting after sample collection and handling of specimen during transporting.
Of course, each test and sample type has a specific guidelines for transporting, and of course we will talk about these specific guidelines for each test or sample types when we talk about each test and each sample type individually in the proper topics.
You should remember that, In part one of the pre-analysis stage we talked about the data you should collect and how it is very important and in the part two of the pre-analysis stage we talked about the general guidelines of sample collection.
In pre-analysis part one we said that the stages or steps that preceding the analysis stage (i.e. that is before performing the test) are:-
- Collecting Patient data and data regarding the test.
- Sample collection and identification.
- Sample transportation, if you will make the test in anther lab
- Receive the sample if it is transported to your lab
- Sample storage, if you will not make the test immediately
- Prepare the samples for testing
- Transporting the samples to lab sections
Also, We talked about the step one in pre-analysis part one and talked about the step 2 in the pre-analysis part two and also we said that if you will not transport the specimen to another lab or you will not receive samples from any source, then you don’t need steps 3 and 4 and if you will perform the test immediately, then you don’t need step no. 5.
Now, we will talk about steps 3 …. So, be ready.
SO, what should you care about when talking about specimen transport an handling during transport? … If you don’t know what I mean, I can make it easy and ask you another question which is Do you care about sample safety or environment Medical lab staff safety or both? …. Of course, sample safety is important for accurate results but also staff safety is very very important and also environment safety.
3) Specimen transporting:-
Specimen transporting may be internationally or local or internal transporting between the lab sections. But we will talk about the internal transporting when we talk about receiving samples in pre-analysis part four (coming soon)
1) International transporting:-
For international specimen transporting we use a triple packaging system for specimen packaging …. SO, What is the triple packaging system?
It is very simple, the word triple means three so, triple packaging systems for a specimen means a systems in which the specimen is packaged in a 3 containers…. As follows:-
- Primary container:–
- Simply, It is the container in which you collect the sample (e.g. a blood tube containing blood sample or urine cup). … this is of course must be labelled as we talked in pre-analysis part two.
- It should be watertight and leak-proof.
- It should be closed correctly and securely.
- It should be wrapped in enough absorbent material such as cotton or paper towel to absorb all fluid in case of breakage.
- It should be kept in an upright position in the secondary container (you can put it in a rack inside the secondary container)
The second container:-
- More than one primary container can be packaged in the secondary container but if the specimen is of high biohazard risk, it primary container should be packed singly in the second container.
- It must be watertight and leak-proof.
- It should be durable to protect the primary container(s) enclosed in i
- If more than one primary container enclosed in the secondary container, the primary containers must be cushioned by sufficient additional absorbent material.
- It should be cleaned and disinfected before each transportation process, if it is reusable.
Examples of secondary containers:-
- Disposable, zip-lock plastic bags;
- Large centrifuge tubes (50 ml) with screw caps.
- A box of hard plastic containing a rack.
The outer container (The third container):-
- All secondary containers are put inside the outer container
- It must be made of durable and strong material to protect the secondary container(s) and its content from any accidents leading to physical damage or from water.
- It should be cleaned and disinfected before every transport process.
Example:- ice box
The outer container, secondary container and rack should be cleaned and disinfected periodically (at least daily and it is preferred after every transporting process) and you should wear the personal protective clothing during cleaning and disinfection