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Flashcards in Packing and posting specimens Deck (16)
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Define a biological specimen

Any material or substance, submitted for medical analysis, that contains living organisms e.g. Blood, serum, semen, vaccines etc


Define a pathological specimen

A biological specimen submitted for medical analysis that is diseased.


What is classed as a diagnostic specimen?



Blood and its components,

Tissue and tissue fluid


Body parts being transported for purposes such as research, diagnosis, investigational activities, disease treatment or prevention.


Describe sample classification

Categorised into groups A or B depending on pathogen they contain or potentially contain.

Strict guidelines govern the handling, packaging and training of category A samples.


Describe category A

An infectious substance which is transported in a form that, if exposure occurs, is capable of causing permanent disability, life-threatening, fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals.


Describe postal regulations

Inadequately packaged samples pose a severe health and safety risk due to leakage and package contamination.

There is a legal requirement for adequate training to be provided to ensure packaged biological samples comply with legal guidelines.


Why are postal regulations put into place?

To protect post office staff

To protect laboratory staff

To ensure the safe delivery of intact samples

It is the senders responsibility to ensure packing conforms to legal requirements


Describe labelling and dispatch of lab samples

Correct preservation and storage

Clear labelling on sample and packaging

Accurately and comprehensively completed request forms

Correct and suitable packaging (following legal requirements)


What information should be included when labelling a sample?

Patient name or identification number

Date sample taken

Submitting veterinary surgeons initials


What should be included on a laboratory request form?

Practice name and address

Name of submitting veterinary surgeon

Patient name, address and reference number

Patient details

Date sample taken

Description of sample

Brief clinical history

Medications already administered

Provisional diagnosis

Tests required

Histology samples should include diagrammatic detail of sample sites


What should be included in practice records?

Either computerised or in a Lab book

Owners and Animals name

Why ? Tests requested

Where? Which laboratory

When? Date / time posted

What ? Types of samples sent

Who? Initials of staff member

Quantity of samples

Record receipt of results


Who is permitted to post pathological samples?

Recognised laboratories and institutions

Qualified medical or laboratory practitioners

Registered dentists




What is transport of biological specimens governed by?

The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations (2011)

European Agreement for Transportation of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) regulations.

The Air Industry Regulations (IATA) are generally used for transport by air, this also applies to postal services


What are the IATA packaging regulations?

A biological sample packed for transport must have:

Primary receptacle containing specimen

A leak-proof container holding no more than 1L fluid or 1 Kg of specimen including fixative or transport media. (unless body part or whole body dispatched)

Absorbent layer

Sufficient to absorb entire quality of primary receptacle

Secondary container / receptacle

Leak-proof package with maximum content of 4kg / 4L

Itemised list on contents (request form)

Between outer and secondary package

Ridged outer packaging with suitable cushioning material

At least one side 100mm x 100mm


What must the packaging be able to withstand under IATA regulations?

Be capable of withstanding a 1.2m drop test, without leakage occurring

Be able to withstand internal pressure of 95kPA, without leakage occurring

Be capable of withstanding a temperature range of -45-55°C


What must be placed on the outside of packages?

UN 3373 diamond logo

Biological material category B logo

Name and address of consignor and consignee

Name and phone number of responsible person familiar with package content.