False results caused by systems issues

Today most of TDM and DAU assays are performed on automated systems, where the system pipette probe automatically picks up the required volume of a specimen, dispenses it into a reaction chamber (cuvette), adds reagents, separates and washes the bound label (if required), measures the signal, and converts it into reported results. Unless the system uses disposable pipette tips, the pipette probe is washed between successive specimens. On the contrary, if the system can do analyses in random access, the reagent pipette is also washed between two different reagent pipetting and dispensation procedures. The reaction cuvettes, if not disposable, are also washed between successive tests. In most cases, such washing is highly effective to prevent cross contamination of specimens or reagents. Furthermore, most system manufacturers test their system for such "carryover" and, if necessary, add extra washes or special washing solutions to prevent carryover. However, one must consider the possibility of specimen or reagent carryover as a potential source of discordant results on automated random access systems.

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