Re: muscle biopsies

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Bob is giving you the  very sound advice.  I supervised a 634 bed tertiary care
hospital with a very active muscle biopsy service.  This is just about how we
had the service set up.

Muscles were sent unfixed, wrapped in dampened saline guaze.  The container was
placed on wet ice.  The outside clients would  have a courier service ready for
immediate transport.  The laboratory and pathologist where informed ahead of
time to make sure someone was available to freeze the specimen once it arrived.
This is alot of work to set up but it is worth it.  We had too many specimens
sent to us with freezing artifacts before we implemented these measures.  The
was very active in the orgainization of this service.

We also had similar conditions in-house.  We also did not like the muscles on
clamps.  All the histotechs where trained on how to bissect, orient, and  freeze
the muscles. This assured someone was always available.

The slurry that was mentioned is what the isopentane forms once it has been
submerged in liquid nitrogen.  We used a small metal beaker and submerged it
with the add of clamps.

There are some very good reference books on muscle histochemistry which
demonstrate freezing muscles.  One in particular is co-authored by Dr. Brian
Little, who ran our servce.  I don't remember the name of the book, it's been a

Hope this helps.

Rande Kline, HT (ASCP)
Technical Services
EM Science on 05/09/2000 10:42:36 AM

cc:    (bcc: Rande Kline/EMI/Merck)
Subject:  Re:  muscle biopsies

In a message dated 5/9/00 12:23:38 AM, Tracy asks:

<<We are looking to send out our muscle biopsies. Does anyone have a suitable
way to freeze the specimen other than using liquid nitrogen?>>

You need to ask nearby tertiary care centers if they offer this service, and
talk with them at length about transport of specimens, usually best done in a
moist container with wet ice, with about a 4 hour cold ischemia time.

Surgeons need to be told - your pathologist needs to do this - that biopsies
must be scheduled in advance, and transportation arrangements verified. I've
had to enlist family members to do the transport more than once. (I've also
worked out bus schedules for blood for chronic transfusion patients, and
filled in for an amateur astronomer on a graze occultation team.)

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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