Sample Requirements and Testing Policies

Sample type and size

Unless otherwise stated serum samples should be sent in gold top SST (serum separating tubes) filled appropriately (see blood bottles). In rare occasions where incompletely filled tubes are sent, the laboratory will complete as many investigations as possible on the volume available.

Urine (for Bence Jones protein analysis)
For urine electrophoresis please send a 30mL screwtop (white cap universal) . If there is any delay in transport keep at +4 degrees (fridge). If not already done, please also send an SST for immunoglobulins and serum protein electrophoresis.

CSF for oligoclonal band analysis
Paired CSF and serum samples are required for accurate interpretation. CSF should be collected in an appropriate sterile container.

Paediatric serum samples
Paediatric samples should be sent in appropriate paediatric ‘yellow top’ Paediatric SST tubes

Although most tests can be carried out on very small samples of serum. Some tests (particularly allergy tests) are carried out on machines which have a significant dead volume. Multiple allergy tests will usually not be possible on samples smaller than 1ml. If only a very small sample is taken, the request form should indicate the preferred order of testing.

Serology tests with specific sample requirements

  • Mast Cell Tryptase
  • Cryoglobulin
  • Functional assays for complement proteins: (please contact the laboratory)
  • Cellular studies (flow cytometry) for the investigation of immunodeficiency: (please contact the laboratory)

Add-on test requests

Serum samples are stored for one month. During this time the laboratory will be happy to ‘add on’ appropriate additional tests.

Repeat testing

Unless there is a clear indication that disease activity or characteristics have changed markedly, autoantibody tests will not repeated within six months of last testing.