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Compliance & Safety, Education & Training, Immunochemistry

Collection Update to QuantiFERON Gold

Effective immediately, QuantiFERON®-TB Gold test (QFT), the industry-leading Interferon-gamma Release Assay (IGRA) for TB detection used at Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory is being replaced by the QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus (QFT-Plus).

The QFT-Plus is now optimized with innovative tuberculosis-specific antigens that elicit both CD8 and CD4 T cell responses, enabling a more comprehensive assessment of cell-mediated immune response to TB infection. The test principle, procedures, and specimen handling will remain the same with the one exception being that the collection kit will now consist of four tubes instead of three. Three-tube collections can no longer be accepted and will thus be canceled.

If you have three-tube collection kits, please order new four-tube collection kits in Lawson (#54909) or via the Lab Supply Order Form.

Please direct urgent questions to the Laboratory Call Center at 616-774-7721 or for non-urgent inquiries use the “contact us” link above.

General Information, Microbiology

Microbiology: Organism Taxonomy Updates

To remain up to date with the scientific literature, microbiology must periodically update the official taxonomic nomenclature for organisms as published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (IJSEM). These updates also satisfy the laboratory’s accreditation checklist item MIC.11375 from the College of American Pathologists (CAP). Current organism classification is typically revised based on genetic relatedness among genera and species, as opposed to historical phenotypic biochemical characteristic studies. Continue Reading

Chemistry, General Information

Fasting Lipid Test Update

Effective August 8th, Spectrum Health Laboratory will ask all patients to indicate how long they have been fasting (regardless of whether they were fasting or not) when they present for Lipid testing. In light of recent discussions in the literature that debate the utility of fasting prior to lipid testing; we recognize that some clinicians may now not require their patients to be fasting and hope that reporting out length of fasting (hours) with each lipid result will allow all clinicians to better interpret their patient’s lipid results. If fasting is desired; Spectrum Health Laboratory recommends no caloric or caffeine intake for at least 8 hours. The patient is not to drink (other than water), eat, smoke, chew gum, candy, cough drops, etc. for at least 8 hours prior to their blood tests. Prescribed medications are allowed. Continue Reading

Blood Bank

5-Pack Platelet Update

Effective immediately, Michigan Blood no longer provides 5-pack platelets and Spectrum Health Blood Bank has changed nomenclature for platelet units when they are ordered. In the past, platelets were ordered as a 5-pack which came from 5 separate donors and had a volume of 250 mL. Current process is one single unit of pheresed platelets which comes from a single donor. The volume is 250 mL, an equivalent volume as a 5-pack of pooled random donor platelets. The bonus is that there are now fewer donor exposures when transfusing a unit of platelets. The 5:5:1 ratio still applies for MTPs (massive transfusions).

Questions may be directed to the Blood Bank using the “Contact Us” link above.

Referral/Sendouts, Toxicology

Toxicology Testing Updates – May 2018

As of May 8, 2018, the following tests are no longer performed by Spectrum Health Laboratory. These tests are now available through Mayo Medical Laboratories as a send out. Please note that the specimen collection for these tests may have changed. Please check the Laboratory Catalog for collection information.

Discontinued Test Code Discontinue Test Name Replacement Code Replacement Name
LAB752 Clomipramine Level LAB1230481 Clomipramine, Serum
LAB683 Ethosuximide Level LAB1230480 Ethosuximide, Serum

Questions may be directed to the Toxicology Department using the “Contact Us” link above.

Microbiology, Test Utilization

Influenza Epidemic Testing Recommendations 2018

Influenza is currently widespread throughout the nation at epidemic proportions. During influenza epidemics, clinical assessment predicts the presence of influenza infection virtually as well as laboratory testing. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to perform viral testing on ambulatory patients who present with illness consistent with influenza before beginning antiviral treatment. Antiviral treatment for Influenza should be started as soon as possible to have a beneficial effect.

Shortages of supplies and medications frequently occur during Influenza epidemics. However, diagnosis of specific viral respiratory infection remains important for hospitalized patients.

Please follow the current recommendations:

  • Limit availability of viral transport media at ambulatory sites.
  • Emergency departments are to limit viral respiratory testing to patients expected to be admitted.
  • Do not perform testing for test of cure.

Thank you for your support during this time. Please direct any questions to Laboratory Services via the “contact us” link above.