Flow Cytometry Consultation Overview

The University of Iowa Department of Pathology provides a full range of Flow Cytometry services. We are able to provide you with testing for: Acute and Chronic leukemia evaluations, Post bone marrow transplant monitoring, CD34 stem cell quantitations, CD4/CD8 testing, absolute CD4 counts, and evaluation of congenital immunodeficiencies using the most advanced technologies and professional expertise. Our faculty are available to you for consultation on your case at anytime. Please refer to Clinical Consultants for details.

Our goal is to phone a preliminary diagnosis or the final results within 24 hours of specimen receipt. Final reports are faxed whenever possible and a final hard copy is mailed. Written reports will indicate patient information, accession number, antibodies examined, and interpretation.

How to send a Specimen:

1. Complete the Flow Cytometry Requisition. Questions about completing the requisition can be directed to: University of Iowa Diagnostic Laboratories (UIDL) at 319-384-7212 or toll free at 866-844-2522.

A completed requisition must accompany all requests. It must contain: the patient name, identification number, date of specimen, specimen source.  Clinical information, including patient history and differential diagnosis if known, will prevent delays in choosing appropriate antibody panels and combinations necessary for diagnosis.

2. Specimen Preparation. Supplies are available from UI Diagnostic Laboratories. Please call 319-384-7212 or toll free at 866-844-2522 to obtain supplies.

Optimal results are obtained if flow cytometry specimens are processed within twenty-four hours of collection. Specimens should be sent at room temperature to Technical Services Monday through Friday. Special arrangements must be made for weekend delivery. Please take extra precautions to prevent specimen freezing in winter months and overheating in summer by adding insulation to the package. Instructions follow for handling various types of specimens.


Peripheral Blood:
  1. Draw one (ACD) yellow top.  Maintain the specimen at room temperature.
  2. Send sample at room (ambient) temperature.
  3. For samples with lymphocyte counts less than 1200/mm, two 10ml tubes should be drawn. If absolute counts are required (for example, in the evaluation of immunodeficiency syndrome), also submit an (EDTA) purple top tube for CBC and differential, or provide the patient’s current (<24 hours) CBC and Differential.

Bone Marrow:

Perform the aspiration as prescribed by your hospital.
  1. Dispense the marrow into an ACD-A (yellow top) tube and mix thoroughly.
  2. Submit a peripheral blood smear, patient history and clinical information; differential diagnosis and a CBC/differential count if available.


Fine Needle Aspiration:

Perform the aspiration as prescribed by your hospital with the following additions:
  1. The number of cells harvested in any given FNA procedure varies greatly.
  2. Multiple aspirations are usually better than single aspiration of the site. Single aspirate specimens often contain too few leukocytes for satisfactory analysis.
  3. After collection, dispense the sample into RPMI-1640. Mix well.
  4. Provide clinical information, patient history, and differential diagnosis for all specimens submitted.


Body Fluids and Tissue Samples:

Obtain the fluid or tissue as prescribed by your hospital with the following additions:
  1. Provide clinical information, patient history, and differential diagnosis for all specimens submitted.
  2. Body fluid specimens containing small numbers of leukocytes may not be adequate for immunophenotyping.
  3. Dispense into RPMI-1640.

3. Specimen Packaging
  1. Double-bag the specimen container with the requisition on the outside of the plastic bag.
  2. Place the double-bagged specimen into a box (primary container) with adequate absorbent material in case of leakage.
  3. Send the sample at room (ambient) temperature. Include insulation to prevent overheating or freezing.
  4. Securely seal the primary container.
  5. Place the primary container in a secondary shipping container, which should also contain enough absorbent material to prevent any leakage from escaping outside the container.
  6. Please call UI Diagnostic Laboratories at 319-384-7212 or toll free at 866-844-2522 and notify them a specimen is coming.
4. Specimen Transportation
UI Diagnostic Laboratories can usually provide for specimen transport either through our own courier services or through other transportation providers such as overnight carriers. If you need assistance or information in transporting specimens to our laboratories, please contact UIDL Client Services and a representative will provide assistance in determining the most appropriate shipping arrangement.

319-384-7212 (local)
1-866-844-2522 (toll free)

Shipping address:
University of Iowa Healthcare
UI Diagnostic Laboratories
200 Hawkins Drive, Room 5231 RCP
Iowa City, IA 52242-1087