The classic manner of performing blood bank testing, both for detection of antibodies and antigens on the red cells and in serum/plasma. Tube testing, as the name implies, involves mixing serum (or plasma) and red cells together in test tubes under various conditions. The classic “phases” of tube testing are the immediate spin phase, the 37C phase, and the AHG (or “IAT”) phase.
Tube testing is being gradually replaced in routine hospital pretransfusion testing by gel and solid-phase testing, as it is considered, in general, less sensitive (and more complicated for inexperienced laboratory staff) than the more modern types of testing. However, tube testing is very much alive in immunohematology reference laboratories around the world, which still extensively utilize tube testing (especially with potentiation by polyethylene glycol, or PEG).
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