[Histonet] Floaters

Lee & Peggy Wenk lpwenk <@t> sbcglobal.net
Mon Dec 11 12:26:42 CST 2006

See if you can get a copy of Arch Pathol Lab Med 1996 Nov;120(11):1009-1014.
Extraneous Tissue in Surgical Pathology: A College of American Pathologists
Q-Probe Study of 275 Laboratories.

This was a CAP study. I don't have the article in front of me right now, so
I'll generalize.

They asked pathologists to look at every slide that passed their desk for
"x" number of weeks (prospective study), AND to pull and look at every slide
that they had done for "y" number of weeks BEFORE they started the study
(retrospective study).

Any slide with floaters (extraneous tissue), they had to trace back, to see
if it was on the slide only, block only, in the specimen only, etc. They
also had to determine who was reponsible for submitting the extaneous
tissue. And they wanted to see if there was a difference in number of
floaters before and after they started their study (people might be taking
more care because they knew their work was being checked).

One finding was that the incidents of floaters decreased 4-5x in the
prospective (current) work than the retrospective (old slides) study. So
when people knew they were being monitored, they took care and had fewer

Also, the people most responsible for the extraneous tissue: (Retrospective
stats, rounded to nearest whole number)
Pathogists = 51%
Residents = 21%
PA = 17%
Histotec = 9%
Other/unknown = 3%

In the prospective study, the residents improved a lot (dropped 12%), and
the other people's percents increased 4-5%, but that's because of the
improvement of resident's making fewer mistakes.

Also, my opinion, this was 10 years ago. How many labs no longer have
pathologists doing their own grossing, but now have histotechs and PA's? So
I don't know if the stats would be exactly the same today.

However, I do think it points out that histotechs are not the only cause of
floaters, and are probably the least likely cause the floaters. But, yes, if
we are not careful, histotechs can cause floaters while embedding or

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)SLS
William Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Sunilda
Sent: Friday, December 08, 2006 3:01 PM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] Floaters

Since we are on the topic of paraffin...I have a questions.  Does anyone
have experience with floaters on routine slides? Floaters from the paraffin
as well as other specimens?

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