Arrange a courier pick-up before drawing blood
Optimally, blood samples should arrive within 24 hours after being drawn. Collection by a courier should be booked before the blood is drawn, so the sample can be sent as soon as possible.
Avoid taking steroids or immuno suppressing drugs as these may affect the test results. Please always check with your healthcare practitioner before stopping to take medication. Patients suffering from widespread systemic infection should also make this clear to the laboratory ahead of testing as this may make the test results more difficult to evaluate.
Send the right amount of blood
MELISA needs at least 3.6ml of blood for each metal tested
- For up to 1-3 metals, send 18 ml of blood. This means 4 x 4.5 ml tubes or 2 x 9 ml tubes.
- For 4-5 metals, send 27 ml of blood. This means 8 x 4.5 ml tubes or 3 x 9 ml tubes.
- For 6-10 metals, send 36 ml of blood. This means 8 x 4.5 ml tubes or 4 x 9 ml tubes.
- For 11 to 20 metals, send 54 ml of blood. This means 12 x 4.5 ml tubes or 6 x 9 ml tubes.
If you have a known disease which causes a low lymphocyte count, please send an extra tube. A smaller volume may be sent for children, as they have a denser lymphocyte count. Please check with the laboratory for more details.
Include a request form
Include a request form clearly stating which panel/substances are required for testing. Every laboratory will have its own test order form and prices may vary, but generally they are the same within Europe. Some insurance companies will reimburse the cost of the test so it is worth checking with the insurer. Below is an example of a test request form. It is also possible to test for chemicals, drugs and infectious agents such as Candida and Borrelia (Lyme disease).
Use citrate tubes
Samples for MELISA testing must be sent in citrate tubes. These are Becton-Dickinson or Greiner Vacutainer tubes containing sodium citrate, with a sterile interior and a light blue lid.
Do not centrifuge, do not chill
The blood will be centrifuged on arrival at the laboratory. It must be sent at room temperature; chilled blood cannot be used in MELISA testing.
Mark the envelope correctly
Put the tubes in a small box approved for shipping of non-infectious diagnostic samples. Include enough padding to make sure the tubes will not break. To protect the sample from heat and cold, a Styrofoam/polystyrene box should be used. Label the parcel with two instructions: “Keep at room temperature – do not chill”. Also indicate that the parcel should be delivered immediately – “Urgent Delivery”.