Bone Marrow Collection: Patient Bedside

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Bone Marrow Aspiration: Normal Hematopoiesis and Basic Interpretive Procedures. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Bone Marrow Collection: Patient Bedside

When the technologist accompanies the clinician to assist with the bone marrow aspiration procedure to make smears at the bedside, it is necessary to understand the role of the clinician and the technologist.

The clinician is responsible for patient positioning and sterile preparation, pain control, and performing the aspirate and biopsy. The clinician often hands off sample syringes to the technologist, once collected. The clinicians are responsible for providing the procedure kit and fixative for the biopsy, all labels, and obtaining the requisitions and a copy of the clinical history for the hematopathologist.

The technologist will set up a mini workspace near the bedside where the samples are split into the required tubes. Smears are then prepared from the aspirate as well as biopsy touchpreps before the biopsy is placed in fixative. In this setting the technologist will usually deliver the samples and requisitions to pathology and continue the processing procedure.

The kit the technologist brings to the bedside usually contains mini petri dishes, coverslips, slides, microcapilary tubes or Pasteur pipettes, micro-pipette bulb and the various evacuated blood collection tubes and media flasks required for the standard bone marrow draw.

Most institutions will have a standard draw and testing protocol designed to ensure that enough sample is obtained to cover all of the usual testing requirements. An example would be a three-syringe-draw with the first two syringes containing no anticoagulant and the third syringe rinsed with preservative-free heparin. The first dry pull would be split between a green and a purple top evacuated blood collection tube and would be used for morphology (EDTA) and flow cytometry and cytogenetics (green) if needed. The second dry pull is split into two additional purple top tubes plus a green top tube and would be used for molecular assays such as SNP array, Flt-3, JAK2, MPL mutation, etc. The final heparinized syringe could be used for other treatment protocol requirements or to provide sample for additional assays.