By Dr.David Zava, ZRT Laboratory
COVID-19 is Making Blood Draw Clinics a Scary Place to Be
In today’s scary world of rapidly spreading COVID-19 infections, most individuals are hesitant to have their health care provider, or worse, a stranger at a blood draw clinic, violate their mandated social space of 6 feet to allow them to stick a needle in their vein and draw blood for testing hormones. It is understandable why during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic both the physician and staff would rather limit physical contact as much as possible with a potentially infectious COVID-19 patient, and vice versa. Some patients suffering from severe hormonal imbalances that affect their quality of life and ability to cope through these difficult times may just choose to suffer through it needlessly, because they consider the risk of social contact to have their blood drawn too great.
Solving the Problem of Blood Draws for Hormone Testing
There is a solution to this problem for both the health care provider and patient, and it’s something ZRT has been doing for the past 15 years. It’s collection of blood by the patient at home from a simple finger-prick. Kits containing a lancet and filter card along with directions are given to the patient at the doctor’s office or drop-shipped by order of the physician to the patient. At the patient’s convenience the finger is pricked with a small lancet, and blood drops are collected on a filter card and allowed to dry for at least 4 hours. Once dried, the filter card is then safely packaged at the patient’s home and from there sent by mail directly to ZRT Laboratory for testing. Special preservation on ice, as required for liquid blood serum or plasma, is not necessary for shipping since the hormones and other analytes in dried blood are stable for weeks at room temperature. Better yet, the drying of blood kills infectious pathogens like viruses and bacteria. That’s good news for everyone – the physician who doesn’t have to draw blood, the patient who doesn’t have to leave their home to have blood drawn, and the laboratory staff who process the dried blood spots.
Getting the Hormone Test Results to You and Your Doctor without Leaving Home
Once the requested tests are performed by ZRT Laboratory, the results are then provided to the practitioner and patient electronically. On average turnaround time once the sample reaches the laboratory takes about 2-4 days depending on the tests requested and day of arrival. Physician consultations regarding test results and recommendations for therapy can then be done over the phone. The patient never has to leave home through the entire process and physician-patient contact is limited, at least while we’re all hunkered down at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finger-stick Dried Blood Spot Test Results Equivalent to Venipuncture Serum or Plasma
Many research studies have shown the advantages of dried blood over liquid blood for testing hormones (see references). Over the past 15 years ZRT has developed, validated, and put to the test through publications in the scientific literature and presentations at scientific conferences a broad array of tests commercialized for hormones (estrogens, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, thyroid hormones, etc.) as well as essential elements and toxic heavy metals using the dried blood method. Hormones in capillary blood drawn from the finger and dried as blood spots have been shown to be quantitatively equivalent to levels seen in serum or plasma derived by venipuncture and the units of measurement and ranges are also near equivalent. This makes the transition to dried blood spot testing from serum/plasma testing simple as well as convenient for these difficult times.
To find out more about ZRT’s innovative, simple, and convenient DBS testing please visit Blood Spot Test Section or contact Hormone Lab UK at Main:0800 098 8726 Local : (+44) 0203 318 5749.