Recommendations for detection and management of unsuitable samples in clinical laboratories

Giuseppe Lippi, Giuseppe Banfi, Mauro Buttarello, Ferruccio Ceriotti, Massimo Daves, Alberto Dolci, Marco Caputo, Davide Giavarina, Martina Montagnana, Valentino Miconi, Bruno Milanesi, Andrea Mosca, Margherita Morandini, Gian Luca Salvagno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A large body of evidence attests that quality programs developed around the analytical phase of the total testing process would only produce limited improvements, since the large majority of errors encountered in clinical laboratories still prevails within extra-analytical areas of testing, especially in manually intensive preanalytical processes. Most preanalytical errors result from system flaws and insufficient audit of the operators involved in specimen collection and handling responsibilities, leading to an unacceptable number of unsuitable specimens due to misidentification, in vitro hemolysis, clotting, inappropriate volume, wrong container or contamination from infusive routes. Detection and management of unsuitable samples are necessary to overcome this variability. The present document, issued by the Italian Inter-society SIBioC-SIMeL-CISMEL (Society of Clinical Biochemistry and Clinical Molecular Biology-Italian Society of Laboratory Medicine-Italian Committee for Standardization of Hematological and Laboratory Methods) Study Group on Extra-analytical Variability, reviews the major causes of unsuitable specimens in clinical laboratories, providing consensus recommendations for detection and management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728-736
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2007


  • Audit
  • Detection of unsuitable specimens
  • Extra-analytical variability
  • Guidelines and consensus recommendations
  • Laboratory errors
  • Specimen collection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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