Instructions by Specimen Type


Stool Specimens

Step 1:

Determine the Specimen Requirements

In the Test Catalog, use the Specimen and Overview tabs of each test to identify:

  • Patient preparation requirements
  • Specimen requirements
  • Specimen container requirements
  • Specimen stability (temperature) requirements
  • Collection instructions
  • Required forms or special instructions

Step 2:

Provide Acceptable Containers

Containers must be capable of withstanding, without leakage, an internal pressure of 95 kPa in the range of -40°C to 55°C.

Mayo Clinic Laboratories supplies containers for fecal specimen collection and processing:

Stool Kit Stool container
T291 Kit for 24, 48, 72 hours
T288 4 oz container for random collection

Supplied containers have the following label affixed:

Stool container label

Unacceptable Containers

Do not send specimens in unapproved containers due to potential shipping problems. Use Mayo Clinic Laboratories containers to avoid courier rejection and transportation delays.

Step 3:

Give Stool Collection Instructions to the Patient

Print the Stool Collection Instructions for the patient.

Stool Collection Instructions - English

Stool Collection Instructions - Spanish

When you give the instructions and container to the patient:

  1. Place a label with the patient information on the container or write the patient name on the label.
  2. Review with the patient:
    • Collection duration
    • Diet requirements
    • Storage of the specimen until it is returned
    • Do not fill any container more than 3/4 full (to the indicated line on the label)
    • Provide Mayo Clinic Laboratories containers for a timed collection
    • How to obtain additional containers from you if necessary

Note: The collection kit comes with an instruction brochure for the patient.

Step 4:

After Collection, Complete the Label

When the patient returns the container to you, complete the following information on the label affixed to the container:

  1. In the Duration section of the label, mark the collection duration. If the timed duration is other than those listed, check "other" and list the duration on the line provided.
  2. Indicate whether the entire collection is contained in one container or in multiple containers. If multiple containers, indicate the number of each container (for example, 1 of 3).

Step 5:

Label the Specimen

Specimens must have two person-specific identifiers on the patient label. Person-specific identifiers include:

  • Accession number
  • Patient's first and last name
  • Unique identifying number (for example, medical record number)
  • Date of birth

Mislabeled Specimens

Specimens are considered mislabeled when there is a mismatch between the person-specific identifiers on the specimen and the information accompanying the specimen. This information might include a computer system, requisition form, or additional paperwork.

In addition, if a handwritten name and a label are on the container, the information must match exactly. For example, "Rebecca" does not match "Becky." When insufficient or inconsistent identification is submitted, a new specimen may be required.

Step 6:

Package the Specimen in a Biohazard Bag

12x15 Biohazard Bag

T043 Biohazard Bag

Place the specimen container in a Mayo Clinic Laboratories 12x15 biohazard plastic shipping bag (T043). This bag contains material capable of absorbing the full liquid content of the specimens inside.

Mark the appropriate temperature on the bag: Frozen, Refrigerate, or Room Temp (Ambient).

If you are not using a bag supplied by Mayo Clinic Laboratories:

  • The bag must be leakproof.
  • There must be absorbent material between the primary receptacle (tube/container) and the secondary packaging (bag) that is able to absorb the entire contents of the bag.

Packaging Multiple Specimens

When a stool test is listed on the temperature batch number with other specimens, the stool container must be bagged separately from other specimens.

Make a copy of the batch page listing the stool test and enclose it with the stool specimen in the bag. The remaining specimens and temperature batch number pages should be bagged together.

Step 7:

Package Batch Sheets and Forms

Folded batch sheet in outside pocket of bag

Folded batch sheet with bar code and delivery address visible

Electronic Clients

Clients who submit electronic orders will have a batch sheet. The bottom of the batch sheet lists the number of pages (for example, 1 of 3). Fold the batch sheets into fourths and place them in the outside pocket of the bag. If there is no pocket, place them inside the bag with the specimens. Include all pages in the corresponding bag. The delivery address and bar code, if applicable, must be visible. Do not combine multiple batches into one bag.

Manual Clients

Clients who do not order electronically must include a completed Test Request form with each patient specimen. Fold and insert the forms into the outside pocket of the biohazard bag. If there is no pocket, place the forms inside the bag with the specimen.