Imperial Collage Healthcare

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Test Background
Immunophenotyping tests, also known as flow cytometry tests, are used to diagnose and classify suspected haematologicalconditions. In new patients with unknown diagnosis immunophenotyping will direct which cytogenetics and molecular test may be needed.

Clinical Indications

The immunophenotyping laboratory performs flow cytometric analysis for a wide variety of disorders, including: acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), certain myeloproliferative disorders (MPD), chronic lymphocproliferative disorders and lymphomas, myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), plasma cell disorders, paroxismal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) screening, investigation of other body fluids or lymph node biopsy for the presence of abnormal white cells.

Sample Required
See Sample container below

Sample Container

Sample Required For cell markers:
peripheral blood - 1 x 5mL EDTA (lavender top)
bone marrow - 1 x 5mL EDTA (lavender top)
cerebrospinal fluid/ pleural effusion / ascitic fluid - 1 x 20mL sterile universal container
tissue biopsy - 1 x 20mL saline or Transfix® in sterile universal container

Sample Required For PNH:
peripheral blood - 1 x 5mL EDTA (lavender top) taken within 48 hours of testing

Sample Collection

Sample Volume For optimal results:
peripheral blood - 1mL – 5mL
bone marrow - 1mL – 2mL
cerebrospinal fluid- 0.5mL – 5mL
pleural effusion - 1mL – 5mL
ascitic fluid- 1mL – 5mL
tissue biopsy – no volume requirements

Sample Volume
See sample collection section for specific volumes

Please note that samples will not be rejected on the basis of small volume.

For optimal results:

Peripheral blood / bone marrow - transport to the laboratory on the day of collection or refrigerate overnight.  Note that for PNH screening samples older than 48hrs will be rejected.

Cerebrospinal fluid/ pleural effusion/ ascitic fluid/ tissue biopsy- transport to the laboratory on the day of collection for arrival before 15:00 or add TransFix®(cellular antigen stabilising reagent, please contact the lab for protocol) and refrigerate overnight for transport on the following day.

Turnaround Time

Urgent referrals – 95% within 1 calendar day

Semi-Urgent - 95% within 3 calendar days (Please note this is not a turnaround time category.)

Routine - 95% within 7 calendar days

For specimens requiring urgent results please contact the relevant consultant in advance.  Urgent specimens must be received by 15:00 for same day processing.


Please send a completed Imperial SIHMDS Request Form, detailing infection risk, sample date and time, clinical details, test requirements, and the correct three identifiers.  

Dependent on findings, samples may be sent for cytogenetics and molecular studies.

For optimal results, please transport cerebrospinal fluid, pleural effusion, ascitic fluid, and tissue biopsy samples to the laboratory on the day of collection for arrival before15:00 or add TransFix® (cellular antigen stabilising reagent, please contact the laboratory for protocol), refrigerate overnight and transport the samples on the following day.

The laboratory is open from 09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays).  PNH samples, taken within 48 hours of testing, must arrive at the laboratory before 15:00 on Fridays.  Please note that for PNH screening samples older than 48hrs will be rejected.  For the benefit of accurate results, we strongly recommend service users not to perform elective bone marrow studies on a Friday afternoon.


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