To take the MELISA test you have to have a blood sample taken and send it to a MELISA laboratory. In some laboratories, testing must be ordered by an authorized healthcare provider. The amount of blood needed depends on the number of metals you want to test, but generally, about 30 ml of blood is needed.
First of all, you have to decide which laboratory you want to send the blood to. If you cannot find a licensed MELISA laboratory in your country, you can contact one of the clinics who arrange blood drawing and shipment to the laboratories. You are also welcome to contact the MELISA Foundation if you need any help.
To have the blood drawn, you usually need a referral from a medical doctor or a dentist.
Every laboratory offers different testing panels depending on the patient’s source of metal exposure, but it is usually also possible to choose your own individual testing panel in cooperation with your doctor or dentist. In some countries, such as Germany, Switzerland, South Africa and USA, MELISA is reimbursed by insurance companies.
Step by step guide:
- Decide which laboratory you want to send the blood to. If there is a licensed MELISA laboratory in your country, you should use them.
- If the blood will be posted, you need to make sure a courier such as DHL or FedEx can deliver the blood, optimally within 24 hours but maximally within 48 hours.
- Do not send blood on a Friday as laboratories are often closed for the weekend. It is ideal to ship blood Monday-Wednesday. Remember that public holidays often mean that courier and laboratories are closed for business.
- MELISA measures the response of the immune system to different allergens such as metals, and therefore any medication which affects the immune system may affect the test results. Examples of immunosuppressing medication are steroids and allergy medicine. You might want to consider not taking the medication some time before leaving a blood sample but ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR if this is safe in your condition.
- Make sure you have the correct tubes for blood drawing, such as Greiner VACUETTE tubes. The tubes should contain sodium citrate, which is an anti-coagulant. The laboratory will be able to send you tubes and a kit for shipping upon request.
- Decide which metals to test and fill in a test request form. You also need to fill in the contact information of a referring healthcare provider. This form should be included with the blood.
- Have the blood drawn at a clinic. MELISA needs at least 3.6ml of blood for every component of metal tested.
- For up to 5 metals, send 18ml of blood. This means 4 x 4.5ml tubes or 2 x 9 ml tubes.
- For 6-9 metals, send 36ml of blood. This means 8 x 4.5ml tubes or 4 x 9 ml tubes.
- For 10-15 metals, send 54ml of blood. This means 12 x 4.5ml tubes or 6 x 9 ml tubes.
- For 16-20 metals, send 72ml of blood. This means 16 x 4.5ml tubes or 8 x 9 ml tubes.
- Have the courier pick up the blood immediately. Get the waybill/shipping number so you can track the package online.
- The results should be with you within 14 days.