Nephrology Clinical Lab Doubles Specialty Test Volume, Offers New Tests

More institutions worldwide are ordering specialty tests from the Nephrology Clinical Laboratory at Cincinnati Children’s than ever before. In FY2018, the lab, directed by Division Director Prasad Devarajan, MD, ran 7,234 specialty tests—double the volume compared to the previous year.

With a total of more than 27,000 tests run in FY2018, the lab is a busy place—but never too busy to expedite an order, provide guidance or discuss results by phone, says Clinical Lab Supervisor Thelma Kathman. “We have a commitment to customer service, and treat samples and testing as if we are serving our own family members,” she says. “Reliable test results and fast turnaround times have become hallmarks of our lab—clinicians from all over the world rely on us to help them make a timely diagnosis so that they can provide potentially life-saving therapies.”

In 2018 the lab expanded its complement testing capabilities with the addition of the complement system screen. This screen offers a complete picture of complement function by separately measuring the three pathways of complement activation—classical, alternative and MBL (lectin). Each test may be ordered individually.  This screening may be used to determine the cause of complement dysfunction and to monitor the effect of certain treatments.

In 2018 the Nephrology Clinical Lab also launched a new platelet antibody screen, which assists in diagnosing thrombocytopenia due to autoimmune conditions or platelet transfusion compatibility issues.

Kathman says her team takes a hands-on approach, relying less on automation and more on customization. For example, the lab has created customized testing platforms for thrombotic microangiopathies and C3 glomerular nephritis/dense deposit disease. The two platforms combine genetic, chemistry and serological tests for these conditions on one requisition form. The physician can simply choose which tests to order and submit the request all at once to the lab for processing.

The lab also supports clinical and basic researchers through its extensive research compendium.  For example, the laboratory, which is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and follows standards set by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) as well as Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) guidelines, assists in the development of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. 

For a complete list of tests available from the Nephrology Clinical Lab, visit

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