Effective May 16, 2022, Platelet Aggregation Studies will no longer flag abnormal in Epic for elevated aggregation for ADP, epinephrine, collagen, and arachidonic acid. These elevated result components are not clinically abnormal and may cause unnecessary concern if flagged as abnormal.
Effective May 9th, 2022, Spectrum Health Laboratory’s Microbiology Department will no longer be preemptively setting up cultures on swabs without a source and order, when received on Thursdays through Sundays and Holidays. Note: The specimen will still be held, but cultures will not be set up in anticipation of the order.
As of April 12, 2022, Spectrum Health Laboratory will no longer add microbiology cultures to placental tissues received based on paper requisition forms.
Viral and bacterial cultures from placental tissue are rarely clinically beneficial and are no longer the gold standard diagnostic approach due to the relative insensitivity of culture methods.
If viral studies are desired (possible indications could include known CMV exposure with positive IgM or intrauterine fetal demise at < 28 weeks), then molecular testing is the recommended diagnostic approach. HSV and CMV PCR tests may be ordered in Epic.
Bacterial cultures are challenging to interpret since they typically grow normal genital flora and histopathological analysis used to diagnose acute chorioamnionitis correlates poorly with growth from bacterial placenta cultures. If indicated, culture and PCR tests may be ordered in Epic.
Placenta tissues sent to the lab in formalin are not acceptable for PCR or culture orders.
As of April 5th, 2022, Herpes Simplex viral PCR testing will transition from being performed in the Spectrum Health Molecular department to the Microbiology department. There are no changes to the acceptable specimen sources for this test (cerebrospinal fluid and blood plasma specimens). Benefits of the new Microbiology testing method include:
• The new test method (DiaSorin Simplexa® HSV PCR) is FDA-cleared for testing spinal fluid specimens with a validated modification for testing plasma specimens. The prior method was a lab-developed test for both specimen types.
• Especially for pediatric patients, collecting sufficient specimen volumes can sometimes be challenging. The new method requires a minimum of 0.05 mL specimen per run whereas the prior method required 0.2 mL specimen.
• The frequency of testing will increase from typically one run per day to testing being performed at several times each day.
Folate (aka Folic Acid) is a test that requires the patient to be fasting in order for the results be accurate. Results are falsely elevated if the patient is not fasting. Spectrum Health Laboratories recently updated our system to hard stop a test from being collected if the patient is not fasting. Please remind your patients to fast 8 hours prior to having their blood drawn.
Spectrum Health Laboratories recommends:
• No caloric or caffeine intake for 8-12 hours prior to testing. Do not eat or drink anything except normal amounts of plain water. This also includes no smoking, chewing gum, candy, cough drops, etc.
• Take normal dosages of medications unless the provider has instructed otherwise.
Click here for a list of tests the require or recommend fasting.
Effective February 10, 2022, Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory will offer Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) PCR testing on swab specimens collected from cutaneous and mucocutaneous lesions (e.g. anorectal, genital, nasal, ocular, oral, skin, urethral).
PCR is the test method of choice for the diagnosis of VZV infection due to its enhanced sensitivity and speed as compared to traditional viral cultures, which should no longer be used for VZV detection.
Go Live Date delayed to 3/3/2022
Go-Live Date: 3/2/2022
Due to new instrumentation at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital Laboratory (BIRL) and to standardize across the Spectrum Health system, we will be adopting new tests for AST and ALT. The difference between our current test and this new test is the addition of the co-factor pyridoxal phosphate (Vitamin B6). The new test is the recommended test of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and ultimately will provide our patient population more accurate AST and ALT results. We did not adopt the new test in the past because it came with logistical and stability issues that made its use in the lab difficult. The new instrumentation we obtained has solved some of these concerns.
Historically, if patients had a Vitamin B6 deficiency, their AST and ALT levels may have been falsely lower than the true values. This decrease was due to the lack of endogenous co-factor causing a slower reaction rate when we tested the patient sample. After we implement the new test across the system, you may notice an increase in your patient’s AST and ALT results. This increase may be evidence that your patient had some degree of Vitamin B6 deficiency. If you were trending results, we recommend you establish a new baseline with the new test versions. The lab has been changed slightly in EPIC to prevent trending between the two test versions, since the results may not be able to be correlated if your patient had a Vitamin B6 deficiency.
On January 24th, 2022 Rubella Antibody, IgG, Serum (LAB496) and Rubella IgG Antibody Quantitative (LAB3544) will be combined as LAB496 and moved to the Immunochemistry laboratory due to reagent constrains with the current vendor.
Testing will be available Monday-Friday with a turn-around-time of 1-3 days. Results will be reported qualitatively as Immune or Not Immune. If quantitative results are needed, please fax Immunochemistry at 616-267-2771 or call 616-267-2770.