Know Basics About Specimen Collection for Lab Testing

We all get sick sometime in our life. And when we get sick with an ailment, we consult a doctor, when we consult a doctor he/she may ask for some lab investigations, for example for blood testing, urine testing etc. as routine investigations as well as for finding some specific cause of the ailment or symptoms you may have.ID-100138797

When you go to a lab for giving specimen, you should know about the basics of specimen collection. Specimens may be collected in test tubes or they may be collected in specimen containers. Sometimes you may have to collect specimens on your own (e.g. urine sample collection), of course after getting guidance from the lab or from the doctor. This is why we all should know basics about specimen collection in specimen containers.

If you have to get blood specimens, your lab technician will do the needful for you and collect blood from you. However, it is important to follow certain things. Your doctor may ask to get blood samples for blood glucose during fasting (minimum 8 hours without any calorie intake is considered fasting condition) or one or two hours after eating a meal. Be sure to follow the instructions of your doctor strictly. Some blood samples need to be collected on fasting condition (e.g. for cholesterol and lipid profile checking, for serum uric acid etc.). For some tests blood can be collected at any time. If blood is collected for culture and antibiotic sensitivity test, it is important to collect the blood sample before administration of any antibiotic.

As mentioned before, urine samples may have to be collected by the patient himself/herself. Hence it is important to know how to collect urine sample. You should know how to collect urine sample for testing, otherwise you may not be able to follow the instructions given by your doctor or lab technician or other health care worker. For example, if you have to collect urine sample for culture and antibiotic sensitivity test, certain precautions are required. Firstly you should not have taken any antibiotic for other diseases too, because if you have taken antibiotic, the urine may not be able to be cultured, because it may not show any growth, hence false negative result may be obtained. Take a sterile specimen container (supplied by your lab) and collect early morning (immediately after waking) midstream urine or adequate quantity. If you collect the urine at the beginning or at the end of urination, there is high possibility of contamination by bacteria present on the skin and risk of false positive result of urine culture and antibiotic sensitivity test. The quantity of urine collected should be adequate, because for checking specific gravity, large quantity (more than 10 ml) of urine is required.

Always use sterile specimen containers only. Do not use specimen container for collecting urine if it is not sterile or if the seal/packing of the container is broken. If seal/packing is broken air will enter and contaminate the specimen container and it may not be possible to get correct result.

Image courtesy of [Sura Nualpradid] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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