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Sample Contamination

Posted

Does it contaminate a sample vile if you touch the opening with a new/clean glove?

CABGpatch_RN, BSN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 20 years experience.

A sample vial of what?

Sorry, a should have been ore specific. I'm talking about a specimen sample (for example a rapid or PCR covid nasal/pharyngeal swab, or a blood sample)

CABGpatch_RN, BSN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 20 years experience.

I have been tested many many times.  Depending on where I went, there were times when they would hand me the swab and I would swab myself and then insert the swab into the collection tube and break off the extra stick and then hand it back to the collector.  There was no way that I couldn't touch the top of the open tube.  Other times when the collector swabbed me, same thing when breaking off the extra stick.

The lab is looking for the virus.  They are able to differentiate between the virus and a rouge germ.  Same in the inpatient setting when we swab ICU patients for MRSA, for example.

Swabbing is not a sterile process and if it's a blood test, the outside of the tube is non-sterile.  With blood, there's no way to contaminate the specimen by touching the top.

I honestly would be more concerned about contaminating myself if I accidently came in direct contact with any person's specimen.

☺️

CABGpatch_RN, BSN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 20 years experience.

I will add, even if drawing blood into a syringe and then transferring it into a tube, I do not think the specimen is compromised in any way.  Protect yourself.

Edited by CABGpatch_RN

JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 15 years experience.

53 minutes ago, CABGpatch_RN said:

I will add, even if drawing blood into a syringe and then transferring it into a tube, I do not think the specimen is compromised in any way.  Protect yourself.

 

56 minutes ago, CABGpatch_RN said:

Swabbing is not a sterile process and if it's a blood test, the outside of the tube is non-sterile.  With blood, there's no way to contaminate the specimen by touching the top.

I honestly would be more concerned about contaminating myself if I accidently came in direct contact with any person's specimen.

☺️

If drawing blood cultures, you can absolutely contaminate the specimen by touching the top and/or during the transfer process.

CABGpatch_RN, BSN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 20 years experience.

24 minutes ago, JadedCPN said:

 

If drawing blood cultures, you can absolutely contaminate the specimen by touching the top and/or during the transfer process.

Of course.  But you are so much more likely to contaminate a culture specimen by not cleaning the collection site on the arm, line, wound, etc than you are in transferring into the tube or bottle. 

The question was about collecting Covid specimen's.  Not blood cultures.  ☺️

Edited by CABGpatch_RN
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JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 15 years experience.

7 minutes ago, CABGpatch_RN said:

Of course.  But you are so much more likely to contaminate a culture specimen by not cleaning the collection site on the arm, line, wound, etc than you are in transferring into the tube or bottle. 

The question was about collecting Covid specimen's.  Not blood cultures.  ☺️

I didn't gather that the question was specific to COVID as the poster said "for example a rapid or PCR covid nasal/pharyngeal swab, or a blood sample." But perhaps I misinterpreted that.

I do definitely agree that contamination for a blood sample is more likely to happen through the examples that you listed.