RE: using the microwave to dry slides

From:"Barnhart, Tammy"

          We have been using the microwave (regular Sharp Carousel, 800W) to dry our slides for about 10 years.  We stain about 700 slides a day and have found this to be a great time saver.  Plastic racks on a paper towel, 1 1/2 minutes on high power, allow to sit in microwave for an additional 2.5 minutes, cool and stain. Once a month I do a boiling time study and document the results.  I place a Coplin jar (plastic) with 50cc of DH2O and measure the time to a full boil.  I compare the times from previous studies to make sure the microwave is performing consistently.  We did replace our original microwave when we began to see a steady trend to longer boiling times.  Although this seems somewhat subjective, it was the best Q.C. I could come up with for this procedure. If anyone else has as a better procedure, please let me know!  I do know that the microwave has saved a lot of time and allows us to get our slides out much quicker.
           Another BIG timesaver for us is the Shandon Gemini Stainer.  It will stain up to 15 racks of 20 slides at one time.  I have had ours for about a year and half.  No major problems.  The stain is consistent and the machine uses small volumes of reagents compared to our old stainer.  By the way, I have no stock in this company...I just like the stainer.  Hope this is helpful.
Tammy Barnhart, BS HTL(ASCP)
Anatomic Pathology Supervisor
St. Alexius Medical Center
Bismarck, ND
-----Original Message-----
From: Brian D. Conlon []
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2003 3:59 PM
Subject: using the microwave to dry slides

Hi All,
    Our lab stains 800-1000 H&E slides every day. Because of the volume we find it necessary to use a kitchen microwave to dry the water from the slides before staining. I was wondering if other labs use this technique with success. Is there a way of QCing this procedure? Also, we are looking into an automatic stainer. Has anyone found one that keeps up with the volume? Thank you so much in advance for your help.  Paula

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