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Evaluation of Prosthetic Implant Degradation

Orthopedic Prostheses


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Specimen Collection

Slide 13

December 2011

Perhaps the most important factor in getting this testing right is specimen collection. Biological specimens for chromium and cobalt evaluation are very easily contaminated. Look around the room where you sit to observe all of the chrome plated furniture and room accoutrements — chromium and cobalt are ubiquitous in our environment. Dust present in normal room air contains chromium at concentrations 1,000 times or more compared to the chromium concentration in a blood serum sample. If the sample is exposed to room air after collection, it may very well become contaminated. Most routine blood collection devices are contaminated with chromium and cobalt. Any evacuated blood collection tube with a red, yellow, or pale blue rubber stopper, or a syringe with a black rubber plunger seal, or a latex catheter, contain high concentrations of chromium and cobalt. Vacutainer manufacturers have created special evacuated blood collection tubes designed for trace metal analysis; these vacutainers have a royal-blue rubber stopper and are labeled "Metal-Free." Also, decontaminate the venipuncture site with an alcohol swab. Avoid the use of Betadine swabs as these contain significant concentrations of chromium and cobalt.

Specimen Collection


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