Re: Delays in freezing muscle bx's

From:Rena Fail

       We also had problems with muscle bxs from outside hospitals.
        Since we already provide biopsy kits for renal biopsies, we decided to provide our outside clients with muscle biopsy kits. We determined that muscles could be held up to 48 hours at 4-5 degrees without loss of enzyme reactivity.   But have specified in our instructions that the muscle must be shipped on ice so that it arrives at the lab within 24 hours.  The kit contains a surgical  request sheet, 4% paraformaldehyde, MSDS (for paraformaldehyde), a muscle clamp, a shipping label, and specific instructions on how to use the clamp and how to ship the biopsies.  We ask for 2 muscle biopsies one clamped and placed in paraformaldehyde and one unclamped and wrapped in saline moistened gauze. The second specimen must be shipped on ice.  We have had only one complaint the physician did not want  to take the second specimen. So we asked that the specimen be shipped fresh.

        It is very important to give very detailed instructions and provide phone numbers,  We did request that muscles not be scheduled on Fridays as our lab is not opened on weekends.  The quality of the muscle specimens received from hospitals provided with the kits has greatly improved.


Rena Fail, AS,HT(ASCP)
Medical University of SC
Charleston, SC         

At 09:46 AM 8/16/01 -0500, you wrote:
I'm looking for some help on setting up a protocol for muscle bx's being
sent to us from outside our hospital. Increasingly more often, due to the
changes in our health care system, we are receiving these specimens from as
far away as 3 to 600 miles. 
We have found, that the tissue received frozen from referring institutions,
where experienced technologists are not available, demonstrate substantial
freeze artifact, also many of these outlying hospitals don't have the
equipment available to them.  Therefore we are attempting to set up a
protocol for having the tissue sent immediately, fresh for freezing and in
gluteraldehyde for E.M. 
we're interested in the methods for clamping (without the availability of
clamps) the muscle for transportation. (our Neuropathologists prefer the
muscles clamped) and your observations on the  effect the delay of possible
6 to 24 hrs has on the enzyme studies.  We do approximately 100 muscles per
year and a large spectrum of enzyme testing.
We would appreciate feedback from anyone having experience doing this.
Thanks in advance.
Sharon Allen

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