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

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Pre-analytical Variables

Pre-analytical variables are those that affect the specimen before the actual testing begins. Some of the pre-analytical variables to consider with molecular testing include those that are applicable to all clinical specimens but should be emphasized when discussing molecular methodologies; some of these include but are not limited to:

  • Receipt of valid order
  • Proper patient identification
  • Proper venipuncture procedure for blood collection
  • Use of correct anticoagulant
  • Collection of correct specimen type (i.e.- plasma, serum, whole blood)
  • Order of draw
  • Proper storage
  • Proper transport
  • Procedures if there is a delay in testing and/or transport