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.
Effective November 5th, the following test order names will be modified. These changes have been made to enhance clarify regarding the testing performed. In all cases, prior Cerner names are set as aliases that direct to the new Epic order names.
There has been a minor change to the influenza testing methods performed by the Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory (SHRL) to improve the accuracy and timeliness of patient results, while simplifying the ordering process for providers. In past years during respiratory illness season, the lab performed influenza rapid antigen testing due to its low cost and rapid turnaround time, with negative specimens reflexed to PCR for confirmatory testing. Approximately 85% of specimens tested by a rapid antigen method typically reflexed, with those patients charged for performing both tests.
On May 1, 2017, Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory adjusted the reference range for C-Reactive Protein (CRP) from ≤10 mg/L to ≤5.0 mg/L.
As of May 2, 2017, Spectrum Health’s Infection Control & Prevention department has declared the system to be officially within “Non-Influenza Season” based on a return to baseline prevalence at both the local and state levels.
Influenza PCR testing will now be performed as opposed to screening with rapid antigen testing.
Beginning February 21st 2017, Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory is proud to announce that Cardiolipin IgG/IgM antibody testing will now be performed in-house as discriminatory testing. The tests can be ordered separately or in combination (see New Test Information below).
As we enter the winter months, there are often questions about the various respiratory pathogen tests available, including a multiplex molecular panel and influenza testing.
As of March 17, 2016, immature granulocyte percentage up to 5% will now be reported on CBC with automated differential, without requiring a manual differential to be performed, if all other parameters allow verification. This is a change from our previous rule requiring manual differential at 3% immature granulocytes. This change should improve turnaround time, especially for patients in the Emergency Department setting. Some providers find the immature granulocyte percentage useful as a part of their algorithm in patients with possible sepsis. Immature granulocytes include cell types metamyelocytes, myelocytes and promyelocytes.
Any questions concerning immature granulocyte percentage in CBC with diff should be directed to Dr. Jennifer Stumph, Director of Hematology.
As of January 12, 2016, pathologist review of peripheral blood smear ordered without accompanying CBC with differential will reflex to adding on a CBC and/or differential in the laboratory. Blood specimens that do not have a slide prepared need to be less than 6 hours old for a pathologist review to be added on.
This is due to the fact that older blood does not smear well and morphology is compromised, especially red cell morphology. This allows for a complete documentation of the patient’s CBC and differential findings in the electronic medical record and standardizes our process among the regional hospitals.
Any questions concerning Peripheral Blood Smear reflexes should be directed to Dr. Jennifer Stumph, Director of Hematology.