How to Send Flow Cytometry Specimens

The University of Iowa Department of Pathology provides a full range of Flow Cytometry services. We are able to provide you with testing for: Acute and Chronic leukemia evaluations, Post bone marrow transplant monitoring, CD34 stem cell quantitations, CD4/CD8 testing, absolute CD4 counts, and evaluation of congenital immunodeficiencies using the most advanced technologies and professional expertise. Our faculty are available to you for consultation on your case at any time. Please refer to Clinical Consultants for details.

Our goal is to phone a preliminary diagnosis or the final results within 24 hours of specimen receipt. Final reports are faxed whenever possible and a final hard copy is mailed. Written reports will indicate patient information, accession number, antibodies examined, and interpretation.

How to send a Specimen:

1. Complete the Flow Cytometry Requisition. Questions about completing the requisition can be directed to: The University of Iowa Diagnostic Laboratories (UIDL) at 319-384-7212 or toll free at 866-844-2522.

A completed requisition must accompany all requests. It must contain: the patient name, identification number, date of specimen, specimen source.  Clinical information, including patient history and differential diagnosis if known, will prevent delays in choosing appropriate antibody panels and combinations necessary for diagnosis.

2. Specimen Preparation. Supplies are available from The University of Iowa Diagnostic Laboratories. Please call 319-384-7212 or toll free at 866-844-2522 to obtain supplies.

Optimal results are obtained if flow cytometry specimens are processed within twenty-four hours of collection. Specimens should be sent at room temperature to UIDL Monday through Friday. Special arrangements must be made for weekend delivery. Please take extra precautions to prevent specimen freezing in winter months and overheating in summer by adding insulation to the package. Instructions follow for handling various types of specimens.

Peripheral Blood for CD4 Lymphocytes and Fetal Erythrocyte Quantitation tests:

  1. Draw one lavender (EDTA) tube, 3-5 mL. Maintain the specimen at room temperature.
  2. Send sample at room (ambient) temperature.
  3. Must be run within 48 hours of collection.

Bone Marrow:
Perform the aspiration as prescribed by your hospital.

  1. Dispense the marrow into an ACD-A (yellow top) tube and mix thoroughly.
  2. Submit a peripheral blood smear, patient history and clinical information; differential diagnosis and a CBC/differential count if available.

Fine Needle Aspiration:
Perform the aspiration as prescribed by your hospital with the following additions:

  1. The number of cells harvested in any given FNA procedure varies greatly.
  2. Multiple aspirations are usually better than single aspiration of the site. Single aspirate specimens often contain too few leukocytes for satisfactory analysis.
  3. After collection, dispense the sample into RPMI-1640. Mix well.
  4. Provide clinical information, patient history, and differential diagnosis for all specimens submitted.

Body Fluids and Tissue Samples:
Obtain the fluid or tissue as prescribed by your hospital with the following additions:

  1. Provide clinical information, patient history, and differential diagnosis for all specimens submitted.
  2. Body fluid specimens containing small numbers of leukocytes may not be adequate for immunophenotyping.
  3. Dispense into RPMI-1640.

3. Specimen Packaging

  1. Double-bag the specimen container with the requisition on the outside of the plastic bag.
  2. Place the double-bagged specimen into a box (primary container) with adequate absorbent material in case of leakage.
  3. Send the sample at room (ambient) temperature. Include insulation to prevent overheating or freezing.
  4. Securely seal the primary container.
  5. Place the primary container in a secondary shipping container, which should also contain enough absorbent material to prevent any leakage from escaping outside the container.
  6. Please call The University of Iowa Diagnostic Laboratories at 319-384-7212 or toll free at 866-844-2522 and notify them a specimen is coming.

4. Specimen Transportation
The University of Iowa Diagnostic Laboratories can usually provide for specimen transport either through our own courier services or through other transportation providers such as overnight carriers. If you need assistance or information in transporting specimens to our laboratories, please contact UIDL Client Services and a representative will provide assistance in determining the most appropriate shipping arrangement.

319-384-7212 (local)
1-866-844-2522 (toll free)

Shipping address:
University of Iowa Diagnostic Laboratories (UIDL)
Department of Pathology
200 Hawkins Drive 5231 RCP
Iowa City, IA 52242-1087