A Tzanck smear refers to a smear prepared from a skin vesicle (blister) in a patient who has bullous disease. The physician (usually a dermatologist) will rupture a vesicle, collect the fluid, and smear it onto a glass slide. The purpose of the Tzanck test is to identify viral inclusions within the vesicle.
METHOD OF COLLECTION
- The physician should decide whether the material will be air-dried or fixed in alcohol. Either method of preparation is acceptable.
- For air-drying, dry the slide rapidly by waving it in the air. For alcohol fixation, fix the smear rapidly either with a spray fixative or by pouring alcohol on the slide from an alcohol pouch.
- Label the slide with the patient’s name.
- Clearly indicate on the requisition form if the specimen has been air-dried or fixed in alcohol, because this determines how we stain the slide in the laboratory.
- Place the slide in a secure plastic or cardboard slide container to avoid breakage.
- Complete the Calpath cytology requisition form per the instructions.
After collecting the specimen, please do the following:
- Place the specimen in the Calpath specimen bag.
- Place the requisition form in the side slot of the Calpath specimen bag.
- Call Calpath for a pickup or place the Calpath specimen bag in the location where our courier usually picks up your daily specimens.