To analyze the impact of using a hand held fan to speed the air-drying process during immediate adequacy evaluation of Fine Needle Aspirations. The effect on turn around time and staining quality is evaluated.
Two mirror image air-dried smears for each pass were prepared. One was subjected to a small hand-held fan with a fan diameter of 7 cm held an average distance of 3 to 5 cm from the slide. The other smear was left to dry without a fan. A total of 93 consecutive pairs were evaluated over a 2-month duration.
The average time needed for air-drying using the fan was 73 seconds (range 10–300 seconds, standard error 6.986), while it was 200 seconds (range 15–645 seconds, standard error 17.799) for those without fan. This difference was statistically significant (p < 0.001). Smears were then evaluated for single cells, cell clusters and background material and no appreciable difference in stain quality was noted between the 2 groups.
The use of a small hand-held fan for air-drying shortened the drying time for FNA adequacy by an average of 127 seconds (63% time reduction) for each pass. The quality of staining was comparable. Using a fan is highly recommended.
Baig et al. CytoJournal 2006, 3:12