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Specimen Retention

The laboratory will retain specimens in each of the technical areas according to the following guidelines:

Cellular Microscopy:

  • Blood specimens – 1 day ambient (York); 3 days refrigerated (Gettysburg)
  • Urine specimens – 2 days refrigerated
  • Other body fluids – 7 days refrigerated

Chemistry:

  • Blood, Urine and Other body fluid specimens – 3 days refrigerated
  • Urine for Drugs of Abuse testing – 7 days refrigerated
  • Blood for alcohol/drugs confirmation testing – 3 months refrigerated

Cytopathology:

  • Unpreserved  Nono-Gynecologic fluid specimens – 2 days refrigerated from date of receipt in AP.
  • Preserved Gynecologic and Non-Gynecologic specimens – 3 weeks ambient from date of processing.
  • Slides – Gynecologic - 5 years
  • Slides – Non-Gynecologic – 10 years

Referral Testing:

  • Central Pennsylvania Alliance Laboratory – 7 days refrigerated/frozen
  • Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute-Chantilly – 10-14 days refrigerated/frozen.
  • Specimens are sent to various other reference laboratories and each lab has different retention times. Please call Referral Department for York at (717) 851-2598 and for Gettysburg at (717) 339-2317 for information.

Surgical Pathology:

  • Fresh tissue specimens – 3 weeks refrigerated from date of receipt as long as case has been verified; otherwise 2 weeks from verification date
  • Preserved tissue specimens – 3 weeks ambient from date of receipt as long as case has been verified; otherwise 2 weeks from verification date 
  • Prepared slides or blocks – 10 years
  • Autopsy-Non-Coroner:
  • Fresh tissue specimen – 6 months frozen at -70C from case verification date
  • Preserved tissue specimen - 6 months ambient from case verification date after receiving written permission by verifying Pathologist 
  • Prepared slides or blocks – 10 years

Transfusion Services:

  • Product Order-RBCs – 3 days refrigerated
  • Type & Screen – 3 days refrigerated
  • Tubes to hold – 3 days refrigerated
  • Cord Blood specimens – 5 days refrigerated
  • Pre-Admission specimens – up to 21 days refrigerated
  • Prenatal specimens – 3 days refrigerated
  • Prenatal antibody titers – kept frozen throughout pregnancy (York).

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