Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, ISSN - 0973 - 709X

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Original article / research
Table of Contents - Year : 2016 | Month : January | Volume : 10 | Issue : 1 | Page : EC07 - EC11

Quality Measures in Pre-Analytical Phase of Tissue Processing: Understanding Its Value in Histopathology EC07-EC11

Shalinee Rao, Suresh Masilamani, Sandhya Sundaram, Prathiba Duvuru, Rajendiran Swaminathan

Dr. Shalinee Rao,
Additional Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences,
Rishikesh, Uttarakhand - 249201, India.
E-mail :

Introduction: Quality monitoring in histopathology unit is categorized into three phases, pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical, to cover various steps in the entire test cycle. Review of literature on quality evaluation studies pertaining to histopathology revealed that earlier reports were mainly focused on analytical aspects with limited studies on assessment of pre-analytical phase. Pre-analytical phase encompasses several processing steps and handling of specimen/sample by multiple individuals, thus allowing enough scope for errors. Due to its critical nature and limited studies in the past to assess quality in pre-analytical phase, it deserves more attention.

Aim: This study was undertaken to analyse and assess the quality parameters in pre-analytical phase in a histopathology laboratory.

Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective study done on pre-analytical parameters in histopathology laboratory of a tertiary care centre on 18,626 tissue specimens received in 34 months. Registers and records were checked for efficiency and errors for pre-analytical quality variables: specimen identification, specimen in appropriate fixatives, lost specimens, daily internal quality control performance on staining, performance in inter-laboratory quality assessment program {External quality assurance program (EQAS)} and evaluation of internal non-conformities (NC) for other errors.

Results: The study revealed incorrect specimen labelling in 0.04%, 0.01% and 0.01% in 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively. About 0.04%, 0.07% and 0.18% specimens were not sent in fixatives in 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively. There was no incidence of specimen lost. A total of 113 non-conformities were identified out of which 92.9% belonged to the pre-analytical phase. The predominant NC (any deviation from normal standard which may generate an error and result in compromising with quality standards) identified was wrong labelling of slides. Performance in EQAS for pre-analytical phase was satisfactory in 6 of 9 cycles.

Conclusion: A low incidence of errors in pre-analytical phase implies that a satisfactory level of quality standards was being practiced with still scope for improvement.