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Laboratory Services

Compliance & Safety, General Information, Immunochemistry, Main lab

Serum Kappa/Lambda Free Light Chain Assay Update

Effective September 28th, 2020, a new generation of the serum kappa/lambda free light chain assay has been implemented.

With the implementation of the new generation of the assay there is an approximately 20% negative bias for kappa free light chains in serum containing >20 mg/dL kappa free light chain.  This may affect the trending for patient who are serially monitored by this assay. Continue Reading

General Information, Immunochemistry, Test Utilization

Protein Electrophoresis Orderable Changes

As of August 26, 2020, the following tests will be obsoleted or made as lab orderables only.  This was implemented to streamline protein electrophoresis orders and ensure that patients receive the recommended testing for the assessment of plasma cell proliferative diseases.

In addition to streamlining protein electrophoresis orders, order questions have been implemented to the available tests to access the reason for ordering to ensure that the proper reflex testing is applied.

For more information, see the lab test directory under the available tests for a protein electrophoresis orders tip sheet entitled “Orders- Protein Orderable ChangesContinue Reading

Compliance & Safety, Education & Training, General Information

Leaky Specimen Containers

Leaky specimen containers may cause compromised test results and it is also a hazard to lab couriers and registration personnel. Leaky specimen containers are not acceptable and may be rejected.

In order to prevent leaky containers, please be sure to:

  • Pay close attention to the lid, making sure the screw-cap lids are fastened evenly and securely, with the threads aligned. If a patient has challenges with tightening the lid, please have them notify lab staff when they return to drop off their container.
  • Containers should be upright at all times, with lid on the top during transport. If container is placed in a biohazard bag, please maintain in the upright position by gripping the cup or the handle and not by the top of the bag.

The Laboratory provides a brochure “Laboratory Specimen Home Collection” for patient collection instructions. Internal offices (i.e. SHMG) may order these from Document Services using the order number X17776 (X19611 for the Spanish version). External offices may order these from Laboratory Courier Services using the Supply Order Form.

Hemostasis/Coagulation, Test Spotlight

New Reference Range: APTT and APTT Assay

Beginning September 8, at approximately 2PM, Spectrum Health Laboratories will go live with their new lot of APTT reagent.  This lot change triggered a new therapeutic curve resulting in new heparin nomograms for the system.  The standard heparin therapeutic range will change from the current 45-65 seconds to a new range of 37-52 seconds based off the new curve.  Reference ranges for the APTT assay will also be updated.  Grand Rapids APTT reference range will be 21-27 seconds and the Regional Hospitals will be 21-31 seconds.

APTT specimens that are unable to reach an endpoint (no clot is detected), will reflex to the Unfractionated Heparin (UFH) (Test Code LAB3389) anti-Xa assay.  To accommodate this change, UFH values have been added to heparin nomograms. The UFH anti-Xa assay is currently only performed in the Grand Rapids labs and valid only for unfractionated heparin.  Any questions concerning these changes may be directed to the Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory Coagulation department at 616-267-2740.

Main lab, Microbiology

Test Update: Group B Streptococcus PCR Shortage

Test manufacturer supply chains continue to be disrupted due to COVID-19. Currently, there is a shortage of supplies for the Group B Streptococcus PCR test. Orders for this PCR test may continue to be placed, however, the SHRL Microbiology Department will perform a culture method until PCR supplies are available with appropriate charging and a reporting comment indicating that the culture was performed. The PCR test is normally resulted within 24-48 hours of specimen receipt in lab, whereas the culture method turnaround time may be 48-72 hours. An update will be posted when these PCR supplies are received, however, there may continue to be intermittent supply issues for this test. Additional test information can be found here.