Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Antigen Testing

Additional Info:
Nasal washings, a nursing procedure, are not collected by laboratory personnel.

Performance characteristics have not been established for immunocompromised patients.

Not able to perform on patients >20 years old.

Methodology: PCR

Stat: Available STAT

Specimen Requirements:
Unacceptable specimen:
Grossly bloody specimens, throat specimens

Refer to RSV collection diagrams located in Reference Specimens section/ Specimen Collection and Preparation.
Nasal wash specimens, NP aspirates and NP swabs in transport media are acceptable.
Transport media must be saline, UTM, or Amies
Samples in these transport media can be stored at 2-8 degrees C for up to 72 hours.
Samples received in media containing lactalbumin will be rejected.

Below are two collection methods :

Bulb Method:

  1. Pour saline into the plastic medicine cup. Suction 3.0-7.0 mL of saline into the rubber bulb supplied by Meadville Medical Center Laboratory.
  2. Tilt the patient’s head back slightly.
  3. Insert the bulb into the patient’s nostril until the bulb occludes the nostril.
  4. With one complete squeeze and release of the bulb, collect the nasal wash in the bulb.
  5. Empty the material into the sterile, plastic screw-capped container supplied by Meadville Medical Center Laboratory.
  6. Refrigerate specimen after collection.

Vacuum assisted:

  1. Place the patient in a supine position or hold the baby in a semi-Fowler’s position in your arms. If needed, have another person present to hold the child’s head during the aspiration.
  2. Place 3.0-5.0 mL sterile saline in the trap. Put 5.0 mL of sterile saline in a plastic medicine cup. Moisten the catheter tip with sterile saline.
  3. Collect the specimen by gently aspirating the nasal secretions with the small catheter attached to the mucous trap. If you are unable to aspirate mucous into the trap, you may rinse the tube by aspirating normal saline and forcing the mucous into the trap.
  4. Place the cap on the collection trap and discard the tubing.
  5. Refrigerate specimen after collection. (If inadequate nasal drainage is present, you may instill a few drops of sterile saline into the nares prior to suctioning.)

Analytical Time:
1 day
Available STAT in 2 hours

Days Set Up: Monday through Sunday

CPT Information:
87798 –

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