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February 2013

Twilight zone for CVD risk markers?

Times are tough all over. For the middle class, for newspapers, for François Hollande and his fellow French Socialists. Consider adding cardiac risk markers to that list. Despite decades of research and clinical experience, the marker conversation—what to measure, how, in whom—has become more an endless loop than a solid lineup.

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AP tracking: an eagle eye on blocks and slides

February 2013—A high-tech blend of hall monitor, bloodhound, and lost and found, tracking systems to manage tissue specimens, blocks, and slides have gradually been taking root as part of an automated workflow in some anatomic pathology laboratories. As manual labeling, logging, and data capture give way to bar coding and even radio frequency identification, it’s a revolution of sorts, but a quiet one.

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Steep climb to suitable reference standards

February 2013—It’s a long way from ancient Greek philosophers to modern-day clinical laboratory directors. Yet both types of scholars have one thing in common: the pursuit of truth. Socrates and his disciples thought of truth as correspondence to an objective universal ideal in the mind. Today’s clinical laboratory scientists need a more concrete standard against which to measure their results, leading to the continuing search for suitable reference materials to be used in method development, test validation, internal QC, assay calibration, and proficiency testing.

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Latest anticoagulants—nuts and bolts for labs

February 2013—The list of anticoagulants has grown in recent years, which means there’s more to know about whether, when, and how to monitor. Last month in CAP TODAY, Michael Laposata, MD, PhD, spoke briefly about the newer drugs and explained how the older ones—warfarin, heparin, and low-molecular-weight heparin—work, and what that means for labs. This month, he returns to the newest of the major anticoagulants.

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From the President’s Desk: Transformational practice—2 in spotlight, 2/13

President

February 2013—A National Football League playoff game was on the ceiling monitor in the airport lounge where I was trying to work on this column, and the announcer was talking about how well they were moving the ball. My first reaction was that he sounded awfully excited for a guy with only one ball to move. Maybe he should come to work at the CAP and see what real excitement is.

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Multilocus sequencing for rapid identification of molds

February 2013—CAP TODAY and the Association for Molecular Pathology have teamed up to bring molecular case reports to CAP TODAY readers, starting this month. AMP members will write the reports using clinical cases from their own practices that show molecular testing’s important role in diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and more. We aim to publish a few a year. The first such report comes from the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle.

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Hemolysis—can better processes add up to millions?

February 2013—If anybody is a believer in programs to reduce hemolysis rates in the hospital, it’s Dennis Ernst, MT(ASCP), director of the Center for Phlebotomy Education. Ever since he left the bench 15 years ago, Ernst has been traveling the country with a mission: to show clinical laboratories, nursing departments, hospital administrators, and clinicians that the payoff from high-quality phlebotomy is much greater than they might realize.

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In Memoriam: Lee VanBremen, PhD (1938–2012)

February 2013—Lee VanBremen, PhD, 74, executive vice president of the CAP from 1989 to 2001, died on Nov. 15, 2012 of aspiration pneumonia, a complication of Parkinson’s disease. “During Lee’s tenure, the College sustained significant growth in size, budget, staff, influence, and importance,” says Paul Bachner, MD, of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, who was a CAP president-elect and president while Dr. VanBremen was EVP.

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Anatomic pathology systems product guide

February 2013—In the market for an anatomic pathology system? Check out the 27 AP offerings from 24 vendors. The systems profiled in this annual product guide are commercially available in the United States. In this year’s lineup for the first time is information pertaining to whether vendors provide a list of client sites to potential customers on request.

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Clinical Pathology Selected Abstracts, 2/13

February 2013—Outcome of patients who refuse transfusion after cardiac surgery: Jehovah’s Witness patients may refuse blood transfusion, due to religious beliefs, following cardiac surgery. Strategies to conserve blood for such patients may include the preoperative use of erythropoietin, iron, and B-complex vitamins, as well as hemoconcentration; intraoperative use of antifibrinolytics and cell-saver and smaller cardiopulmonary bypass circuits; and tolerance of low hematocrit levels postoperatively.

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