The Dept of Anaesthesia & Intensive Care, CUHK thanks

for an unrestricted education grant
BASIC instructor/provider course, Hong Kong, July 2nd-4th
Other upcoming courses
Home Feedback Contents

Specimens for RT-PCR

Up Download tutorial Infection control Mechanical ventilation Specimens for RT-PCR Steroids in SARS


Nasopharyngeal wash/aspirate

  1. position patient in sitting position with head slightly tilted back
  2. instill 1.5 ml sterile saline (without preservative) into one nostril
  3. flush plastic catheter or tubing (eg mucus trap tubing) with 2-3 ml saline
  4. insert tubing into nostril parallel to palate
  5. aspirate nasopharyngeal secretions and collect in mucus trap
  6. repeat for other nostril

Naso- or oro-pharyngeal swab

  • use sterile dacron/rayon swabs with plastic shafts
  • nasopharyngeal
    • insert swab into nostril as far as palate
    • leave in place for a few seconds
    • repeat for other nostril
  • oropharyngeal
    • swab posterior pharynx and deep inside throat, avoiding tongue
  • place each swab in tube containing virus transport media immediately
  • break off end of shaft and close tube tightly

Adapted from Hong Kong Hospital Authority guidelines on the laboratory diagnosis of SARS, revised on 9th January 2004


©Charles Gomersall, April, 2014 unless otherwise stated. The author, editor and The Chinese University of Hong Kong take no responsibility for any adverse event resulting from the use of this webpage.
Copyright policy    Contributors