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Old 09-22-2007, 06:16 PM   #1
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Thumbs down A caution about mail order thyroid tests

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this board, but not to thyroid issues unfortunately. I just wanted to post something I hope can be helpful.

I have had hypothyroid symptoms for years, and over that time have done several TSH tests through the mail (as well as from a doctor's lab). For all the mail order tests I have used one company that sells the finger puncture tests widely available online. On my last visit to the doctor, I asked for a TSH and decided to compare this mail order test with my doctor's lab to see how accurate it really was. I did the finger puncture test within 30 minutes of having the blood draw at my doctor's office. The results were:

Mail order test: TSH 1.16
Doctor's office test: TSH 4.35

As I'm sure anyone here would agree, this is a significant difference. I contacted the customer support number for the mail order lab and questioned them on the accuracy of their testing procedures. I let them know that this was not the first time their test had come back with questionable accuracy, but it was the first time I'd done the testing on the SAME DAY. My question was forwarded to the lab's medical director. The response was that basically many factors influence the accuracy of these tests including things like temperature extremes and length of time the blood sample is in transit. All things that CANNOT be controlled with mail order. I would love more then anything to be able to test at home. We all know how hard it is to get doctors to agree to do tests they don't think are necessary. It's a hassle, for sure. BUT if you can't trust the results you're getting from home tests, what is the point?

Has anyone else had similar experiences?

Starfish

 
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Old 09-22-2007, 06:47 PM   #2
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Re: A caution about mail order thyroid tests

That is pretty bad!

Fortunately I have never had to use mail order lab test.

I was thinking about getting my Armour thyroid online (and thought I would wait until it wasn't 100 degrees outside because of the shipping in extreme problem. But who knows about the transit time, delays and temperature for the Armour I get from the drug store!).

Any way, thanks for the warning about mail order lab test! Good to know.
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Old 09-22-2007, 07:18 PM   #3
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Re: A caution about mail order thyroid tests

I don't know what exactly you mean by "finger puncture" test. Does that mean the test is run on an extremely minute amount of blood, like home glucose monitoring is done? I would question the accuracy of any thyroid testing done that way.

The online lab I would use if I needed to (and which must remain nameless here) contracts with labs in your area where you go for the blood draw. It's just like the test your doctor would order, and therefore is accurate as any.

 
Old 09-24-2007, 05:56 AM   #4
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Re: A caution about mail order thyroid tests

Yes, it is like glucose monitoring. I think this company actually offers a glucose one also. The test I'm refering to (it's frustrating we can't name names) comes in a kit. You use a lancet to puncture the skin, then collect the blood in a small container they provide. The sample is then mailed back to their lab.

You're right, the kind of lab you mentiond that contracts out with real labs sounds perfectly fine. The mail order kits, however, are what I was cautioning about.

Thanks for the post,

Starfish

 
Old 09-24-2007, 06:02 AM   #5
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Re: A caution about mail order thyroid tests

The finger stick testing is a direct testing method that has no redundant accuracy checks in place.. it is very biased and loaded with error. Your MD's test is correct. Go with that one. I contemplated the online TSH tests my self.. but depending on the method of storage and age of the testing device plus the fact there is already a 20% deviation inherent in that test.. much prefered the in house analysis of my TSH.

Sincerely,
MG
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Last edited by mkgbrook; 09-24-2007 at 06:03 AM.

 
Old 09-24-2007, 07:08 PM   #6
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Re: A caution about mail order thyroid tests

mkgbrook,

How right you are. I have since learned my lesson. I will not do mail order in the future.

Thanks,

Starfish

 
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