The Essence: The Best of May 2020

By Anne-Margaret Olsson posted 06-04-2020 14:03

  
The Artery is your community for finding solutions to your day-to-day clinical chemistry questions. Last month, several answers were found to questions ranging from “Serum or plasma?” to “Why is COVID more frequent in men than in women?”. Read on for our editor’s picks of the best discussions on the Artery in May.

Drive Up Phlebotomy

Initiated by @Alison Woodworth, PhD, DABCC, FAACC

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, one institute has been asked to set up a drive up phlebotomy service and is wondering if others are doing the same. One respondent’s institute is: They first screen patients with an IR thermometer at the entrance to the parking garage. Patients who don’t have a fever are directed to park near the phlebotomy lobby’s door, where they call the desk to check in. When labels have printed and a draw room becomes available, the phlebotomist then meets the patient at the door to the building, escorts the patient to the draw room, and completes the draw.

Serum or Plasma?
Initiated by @Pauline Zegiares, MT (ASCP)

Are the platforms performing COVID-19 antibody testing generally validated using serum or plasma (EDTA/lithium heparin) or both? Typically both, respondents say. As one person explains, IgG and IgM antibodies are present in both serum and plasma, and antibody kits are validated to avoid potential pre-analytical errors or interferences caused by the EDTA/heparin in plasma collection tubes. With that said, though, serum is the ideal sample type, because whole blood is collected in plain tubes (without anticoagulants) and therefore there is no question about interference.

Men and COVID-19
Initiated by @Guadalupe Rivera, PhD

One lab professional is wondering why COVID-19 seems to occur more frequently in men than in women. A respondent says that the same percentage of men and women are infected by COVID-19, but that men are probably more likely to die from the infection due to higher levels of preexisting conditions. Ongoing research is also looking into a connection between low testosterone levels in men infected with COVID-19 and unbridled inflammation (i.e. cytokine storm) and death.
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