The pre-analytic testing phase is the first step in the laboratory process. As specimen handling and identification issues can occur at this stage, they need to be properly identified and managed through rigorous control measures or they will travel further downstream. The pre-analitic phase is hence the starting point of the quality process, a guarantee for reliable results.

Test request form and sample transport In compliance with the ISO 15189 standard, the request must contain the following information:

Apply the tourniquet Find the vein Disinfect the puncture site Insert the needle Remove the tourniquet as soon as you have reached the vein (1st tube)

Be aware that the quality of the results strongly depends on the care taken to collect the sample.

Stools are collected in the acute stage of the illness in a clean bowl, hence transferred into a sterile pot using a spatula, then sent to the laboratory. Samples can be stored in the fridge (4°), for a maximum of 24 hours.

Collection of synovial fluid: After carefully disinfecting the skin, collect the fluid in a syringe, and then transfer it immediately into at the following tubes:

Never put a bacteriology smear in the refrigerator, leave it at room temperature (+/- 20°C).  Bring it to the laboratory as fast as possible (within 24 hours maximum).

To be performed outside the time of menstruation, and if no personal lubricants, cream or vaginal ovules have been used (in the latter case, await 48h minimum)

Closed suppuration Generally, take the sample using a sterile syringe after disinfecting the local area. Seal the needle, which will stay in place in the syringe; Send it to the laboratory as it is, at room temperature; Send quickly due to the fragile anaerobic flora.

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