The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Protocol for the collection and transport of biopsy samples for tissue copper and iron estimation

1. Samples should be collected by needle biopsy.

2. Remove the sample from the biopsy needle as soon as possible to reduce the risk of contamination from the needle. Best results are obtained if the sample is at least 10 mm in length, this will generally give a dry weight of 3-5 mg.

3. Place the sample on a piece of filter paper and moisten with one or two drops of sterile distilled water.

NB Samples fixed in formalin are unsuitable for analysis.

4. Place the sample and filter paper into a sterile, plain (white topped) universal container. Label the container with the following information;

  • Forename & Surname in full, no initials
  • Date of Birth
  • Date of collection
  • Hospital No or NHS No or A&E No.

5. The sample should then be sent immediately to the local laboratory from where it should be dispatched immediately by taxi to the;

  • Trace Element Laboratory,
  • Block 46,
  • St James’s University Hospital,
  • Beckett Street,
  • Leeds, LS9 7TF,
  • Telephone number 0113 2064760.

6. If transport cannot be arranged immediately then the sample must be stored at -20ºC prior to dispatch.