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Test Update

Microbiology

Herpes Simplex Virus PCR Update

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.

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General Information, Microbiology

New Test: Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) PCR, Swab

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. Continue Reading

Chemistry, Education & Training, Main lab

Test Update: AST and ALT

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. Continue Reading

Chemistry, General Information, Immunochemistry

Test Update: Rubella IgG Antibody Testing

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. Continue Reading