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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Medical Courier Safety. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Refrigerator Temperatures

Some specimens must be kept refrigerated following collection to avoid changes that will affect the test results. Laboratory refrigerators are kept at 4°C, with an acceptable range of 2-8°C. Refrigerated specimens must be maintained between 2-8º C during transportation. Examples of specimens that need to be kept refrigerated include:
  • Albumin (ALB)
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
  • Alanine amino transferase (ALT)
  • Aspartate amino transferase (AST)
  • Ammonia (AMM)
  • Arterial blood gases (ABG)
  • Autoimmune antibody testing
  • Certain viral tests
Some laboratories may require specimens for coagulation testing to be cooled.
Methods for transporting specimens needing to be refrigerated include:
  • Plastic cooling blocks that hold blood collection tubes.
  • Plastic cups with a slurry of wet ice and water. Tubes or cups must never be inserted into a cup of ice as this may result in super cooling and freezing at the tube or cup surface invalidating the test results.
  • Frozen gel packs.
  • Insulated coolers that must have a tight-fitting lid and maintain refrigerator temperature.