RE: FW: H & E Staining problems

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From:"Colbert, Laurie" <>
To:"'Bill Sinai (Anatomical Pathology)'" <>, "Colbert, Laurie" <>,
Content-Type:text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

We purchase all of our processing and staining products from Richard Allan.
However, we have been having this problem since December '99 and have gone
through many orders of formalin and other reagents.  

Is Richard Allan a common denominator with everyone who is having

Laurie Colbert
SJMC - Burbank, CA

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Sinai (Anatomical Pathology)
Sent: Monday, March 20, 2000 9:27 PM
To: Colbert, Laurie;
Subject: Re: FW: H & E Staining problems

Date:          Mon, 20 Mar 2000 12:08:00 -0800
From:          "Colbert, Laurie" <>
Subject:       FW: H & E Staining problems
To:            "HistoNet (E-mail)" <>

Dear Laurie,

This problem rears its ugly head occasionaly in Australia as well.  
Nearly every time it can be followed back to a " BAD 
BATCH of FORMALDEHYDE".  Looking at Histonet lately I 
feel this is happening to people in the USA.  Are the people having 
this problem all obtaining supplies from the one 
supplier or initial source?

We fixed the problem by discarding our formalin 
supplies, supplying a new batch and presto most of the 
problems went away.  We now only have the odd case which 
causes problems (probably still some of the old batch).  We supply 
all our customers with formalin pots and concentrated solution from 
our central site.

Message-----From: Colbert, Laurie Sent: Friday, March 17, 2000 2:14 
PM To: '' Subject: RE: H & E Staining problems

We have had staining and/or processing problems off and on for years, and we
are presently going through a very bad period where the problem is not
correcting itself (which it always has in the past).  Our sections have very
faded nuclei mainly around the edges and an overall hazy look. Several times
the pathologists have commented that the slides were too pink. 

For every theory we come up with, we can always disprove that theory.  We do
histology for five different hospitals, and the blocks are processed on
different processors.  Our processing schedules are pretty much the same on
each processor.  But when we have problems, we have problems with all of the
hospitals' blocks.

The main problem is with the small biopsies (skin, GI's, prostate needle
biopsies, cervical biopsies).  We think it may be an over-processing
problem, but when we got a demo processor so that we could set up a short
run for the biopsies, we still had problems.  The tissue looked better, but
not great.  One day the slides look as bad as they ever had.  Our routine
processing schedule is nine hours long.  We have one formalin, two PenFix,
three 100% alcohols, three xylenes, and three paraffins.  We use no heat
except on the paraffins.

We have approached the problem as a staining problem, but have pretty much
ruled this out.  When we sent our slides to other facilities for staining,
they still looked bad.

We are at a total loss.  Has anyone ever had water problems that caused this
problem?  We use tap water.

Laurie Colbert
Saint Joseph Medical Center
Burbank, Ca
(818) 557-5495 


-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2000 7:27 PM
Subject: H & E Staining problems

Our laboratory uses an automated Leica stainer for H & E.  The pathologist 
has noticed several slides with weak staining around the periphery of the 
tissue section.  The stain is very weak just along the edge of the tissue.  
The rest of the tissue stains fine.  I checked the temperature of the slide 
dryer and found no problem.  Any ideas how to solve this problem?

Bill Sinai
Department Manager
Tissue Pathology
ICPMR Westmead Hospital 
Phone 61+2+9845 7774  Fax 61+2+9687 2330

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