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Adaptation of Clinical Laboratories to COVID 19 Pandemic: Changes in Test Panels, Overcoming Problems and Preparation Suggestions for Future Pandemics Adaptation of Clinical Laboratories to COVID 19 Pandemic by Belkiz Ongen-Ipek, Mustafa E. Sitar, Asli Karadeniz

Background: For Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) infection, clinical laboratories provide essential contributions in the diagnosis of infection, stage prognostication, and evaluation of disease severity. We aimed to show laboratory problems including changes of test numbers, changes of test panels, and differences of preanalytical errors during Covid-19 pandemic and, in the current study, we also intended to give solutions for the obstacles to guide other possible pandemics.
Methods: Our study was based on data between January 10, 2020, and May 10, 2020. The first Covid-19 case of the Republic of Turkey was seen March 10, 2020, which was determined as the threshold date for comparisons. This was a single center, data mining, retrospective study.
Results: The number of patients admitted to hospital were 34,260 and 15,573, the number of total tests were 66,263 and 42,066 before and after pandemic, respectively, for the two-month interval. Test percentage changes were increased for D-dimer 136%, fibrinogen 3,113%, troponin 6%, and LDH 17%. Test percentage changes were decreased for CBC 37%, sedimentation 45%, aPTT 30%, PT 37%, CRP 28%, ProCT 10%, ferritin 29%, CK-MB 27%, blood gases 47%, ALT 43%, AST 42%, urea 42%, creatinine 42%, triglycerides 45%, sodium 42%, potassium 41%, chloride 21%, urine culture 58%, and blood culture 44%. When preanalytical sources of errors were investigated no differences were found.
Conclusions: Laboratories must take quick action and be prepared for changes in patient services during pandemics. The most reliable ways for this are past experiences, statistical analysis, co-operation with administrations, high quality communication skills, and a risk-based management system.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2020.200624