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A Collaborative Guide to Navigating the Complexities of Perimortem Testing in the Clinical Laboratory

From the 2020 Joint Annual Meeting (June 29, 2020)
Presented by Alison Woodworth, PhD, DABCC, Lindsay Ragsdale, MD, FAAP, FAAHPM, Erin Schuler, PhD, & Michelle Smith, MD
Biochemical and genetic testing on infants during the perimortem period (on or before time of death) poses a number of unique challenges for laboratorians and clinicians alike. These challenges include: (1) determining which tests to order, (2) ensuring appropriate specimen acquisition and handling, (3) assimilating data from biochemical analysis, newborn screening, molecular tests and pathology reports to maximize the diagnostic value of orders, (4) adhering to the goals of laboratory stewardship committees to reduce unnecessary laboratory testing and (5) determining who will pay when patient’s families would like answers regarding cause of death when insurance coverage is denied. Navigating these challenges is further complicated by the delicate nature of the perinatal period, as families and clinical care teams often are required to make rapid decisions under difficult emotional circumstances. This session highlights key cases instrumental in developing a multidisciplinary team approach to addressing the technical, managerial and interpretive challenges encountered with perimortem laboratory.

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe major challenges with perimortem laboratory testing
  2. Discuss the utility of biochemical and genetic testing in the perimortem period
  3. Identify strategies to establish infrastructure around perimortem testing

This recorded presentation is P.A.C.E. ® accredited. The instruction level for this activity is Intermediate. One (1) P.A.C.E. ® contact hour and one (1) Florida credit hour in the area of General/Cytogenetics/Molecular Biology will be awarded to participants. ASCLS P.A.C.E.® is accepted by the ASCP/ASCLS/AGT Board of Certification and all states, including Florida and California, as an approved provider of continuing education for recertification and licensure. ASCLS is an approved provider with CE Broker for Florida licensees.

This intermediate-level program is appropriate for laboratory professionals working in clinical, public health and academic settings.