Under Vacuum Preservation of Tissues To Be Transferred to Pathology Labs
G Bussolati, L Chiusa, A Cimino, G D'Armento. University of Turin, Turin, Italy
Background: Tissue specimens to be transferred from the surgical theatres to the pathology labs are usually immersed in formalin, used as a preserver and fixative. This procedure prevents fresh tissue collection for tissue banking and involves the handling of formalin (a toxic and carcinogenic agent) by nurses in the surgical theatre. Indeed, it is now regarded as mandatory to try to reduce exposure to formalin.
Design: To overcome these problems, we adopted an under-vacuum (U.V.) processing for large specimens (while small biopsies are directly immersed in formalin in pre-filled containers). An under-vacuum machine (Tissue-safe, by Milestone, Bergamo, Italy) was located in the surgical theatres in our Hospital. Immediately after removals, specimens were put in a plastic bag and processed under-vacuum (the whole processing is lasting less than 1 min.), then kept in a fridge at 4C until transferred to the Pathology Lab. In the grossing room, the specimens were processed as usual. To test the safety and efficacy of the procedure, we have been checking the preservation of histological features, of antigen detectability and of nucleic acid integrity in tissues kept U.V. for various times (from a few hours up to 5 days).
Results: The experience accrued on over 1000 cases (mainly of breast, thyroid, colon lesions) processed Under-vacuum and sent to the Pathology Lab. for grossing allows to conclude that this processing is well appreciated by both nurses and laboratory personnel. Fresh U.V. tissues kept in the fridge (4C) up to 2-3 days still retain an excellent morphology, as well as preservation of (immunohistochemically detectable) antigens and of nucleic acids. Tissues banking, cell coltures and electron microscopy were still feasible in such material. This procedure offers advantages in the processing of breast biopsies.
Conclusions: Tissues transfer in under-vacuum conditions meets the request of health authorities and involved personnel to reduce exposure to formaldehyde, while safely preserving in tissues both morphological and biological features of diagnostic interest.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 1:00 PM
Poster Session VI # 220, Wednesday Afternoon