How to Obtain a Nasopharyngeal Swab Specimen

How to Obtain a Nasopharyngeal Swab Specimen

A nasopharyngeal swab is used when diagnosing patients with COVID-19 or other suspected respiratory infections. As the United States continues to battle COVID-19, healthcare professionals must be adequately trained to protect themselves while properly performing nasopharyngeal swabbing. This video (Here) provides an overview of preparing a nasopharyngeal swab, the equipment needed, the procedure, handling of the specimen, and how to remove personal protective equipment (PPE). Please note: healthcare professionals should proceed with caution when sampling a patient with recent nasal trauma or surgery, a markedly deviated nasal septum, a history of chronically blocked nasal passages or severe coagulopathy. 
The individual obtaining the swab must properly don PPE in accordance with policies and procedures set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with their institution. All required forms must be filled out prior to obtaining the sample and tubes must be labeled. The swab will be inserted along the nasal septum until resistance is felt near the floor of the nasal canal. It will then be slowly removed while being rotated. The swab is to be placed properly in the designated tube and wiped with a surface disinfectant wipe before being sent off for testing.