Blood Testing Procedure

Blood tests may be conducted in addition to or independently of urine testing. A distinction is made between venous blood collection for laboratory analysis, venous blood collection for the biological passport, and capillary blood collection for the Dried Blood Spot, DBS method.

The procedure for the three types of blood collection is essentially the same, although they differ in three fundamental ways: The body site from which the blood is drawn, the amount of blood required, and the testing kit used. Certain steps of the testing procedures differ slightly as a result. If the sample is intended for use in blood profiles, it may not be collected until two hours at the earliest following physical exertion.

Notification and Identification

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The doping control officers (DCOs) identify themselves. Alex is informed that he has been selected for testing, and about the upcoming control. Alex is also briefed on his rights and obligations. The DCOs verify Alex’s identity, for example by means of an identity card or driver’s license. By signing the doping control form, Alex confirms that he received notification of the doping control and that he has understood the associated rights and obligations.

Waiting and Testing Areas

The waiting and testing areas are separate from each other. Alex may eat and drink in the waiting area, but not in the testing area.

The only people allowed in the testing area are the DCO, Alex (the athlete undergoing testing) and, at his request, a person he trusts. Under certain circumstances, WADA observers and auditors from Antidoping Switzerland may also be present. Alex has the testing procedure explained to him. A urine sample may be taken in addition to a blood sample (see Urine Testing Procedure). Before blood is taken, Alex must sit in an upright position for at least ten minutes. The waiting time can be used to answer questions on the athlete biological passport, and about any medication which he may have taken recently.

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Selecting a Testing Kit

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Alex selects a packaged blood collection kit. There should be at least three kits to choose from, and the packaging must be intact. If Alex is not happy with the kit he originally selected, he may choose another one which is intact.

Each testing kit contains a collection container for the A sample (red number), a container for the B sample (blue number), an unmarked container, sticky labels, and sealable plastic bags. Identical numbers should appear on the kits, containers, lids, and sticky labels. The blood testing kit contains the equipment necessary for taking a blood sample, as well as the blood collection vials.

Labelling the Blood Samples

Alex sticks a label on each of the blood collection vials.

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Blood Collection

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Blood is usually taken in an upright sitting position, but Alex may lie down if he wishes. A maximum of 13 ml of blood is required for the test. The DCO takes a blood sample using the blood collection kit. They then disinfect and cover the puncture point as necessary. Alex should not make any energetic movements with the arm concerned for up to 30 minutes after blood has been taken.

Sealing the Containers

Alex opens the containers according to the DCO’s instructions. He then places the blood sample vials into the containers provided, and closes the containers with the correct screw lids. The lids should be fully but not over-tightened. They can no longer be unscrewed and opened. In the laboratory, lids are removed using a special tool before the sample is analyzed. They can then no longer be re-used. Alex then places the containers in the plastic bag provided, and seals it.

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Doping Control Form

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The DCO now enters further details on the form, such as the sample number, the date, and the time the sample was taken. The laboratory does not receive any information whatsoever which might indicate Alex's identity. To make the analysis process easier for the laboratory, it can be useful to enter any medication taken over the last seven days on the doping control form.

Signing the Form and Concluding the Test

Alex can now check that the remaining part of the doping control form has been completed correctly and in full. If Alex wishes to make any comments or complaints, these can be recorded in writing on the form. The DCO, any accompanying individuals, and finally Alex himself then sign the form, thereby confirming that the test was carried out in accordance with the applicable regulations. Alex receives a copy of the doping control form. This should be kept in a safe place.

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Dispatch and Analysis

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Blood samples are placed in a chiller and sent to the laboratory for Analysis. Alex is informed by Antidoping Switzerland of the result of the test by e-mail or by letter.

Dried Blood Spot (DBS)

The DBS method is based on sample collection which involves drying drops of blood. Samples are collected by taking a few drops of blood from the middle or ring finger or, in exceptional cases, from the earlobe. Small quantities of the blood that has been taken are then applied to the DBS card. The numbers on the silver pouch, the secure plastic bags, the DBS cards (A and B samples) and the tamper-proof strip must all be identical. The number on the card must be visible when the DBS cards are placed in the secure bag. The two bags are then sealed with the tamper-proof strips and placed in the silver pouch. This is closed using the large blue tamper-proof strip and sent to the laboratory.

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