Collecting a Stool Sample for Clostridium Difficile Toxin Testing

These instructions are only for the lab at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. If you are taking your child’s sample to a different lab, please call that lab for instructions.

When to collect the specimen

Follow your physician’s instructions for when and how many samples to collect.

How to collect the specimen

The stool sample should be passed into a clean, dry container with a tight lid.

  • If you were given a plastic “hat” for collection, place it on the toilet with the round side pointing toward  the back of the toilet.
  • You can use any clean, dry container (such as a margarine container).
  • Place a large plastic bag over the opening of the toilet seat to catch a stool sample.
  • Stool sample should not be mixed with urine or toilet water.

How to transport the specimen

Read this carefully, it is very important to transport the sample correctly.

  • Fresh stool samples can be brought to the lab immediately after collection. Place the sample container in a plastic bag filled with ice.
  • Frozen stool samples can be brought to the lab if you place the sample container in a plastic bag filled with ice.

How to label the specimen

Each specimen must be labeled with the following information.

  • Your child’s name
  • Date of birth or Medical Record Number (if known)
  • Date of specimen collection
  • Time of specimen collection (AM or PM)
  • First and last name of specimen collector

If you were provided a lab slip, write the date that each specimen was collected on the appropriate slip.

You must bring the specimen to the lab within 72 hours after collection. Do not refrigerate specimen.

How to bring your specimen back to CHOP

  • When it’s time to bring your specimen(s) back to CHOP, place in specimen bag and make sure it is transported according to provided directions (i.e. on ice, room temperature, etc.)
  • When you return to the hospital, you will need to register at the Outpatient Registration Area on the third floor of the Main Hospital. This registration area is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • In order to provide the safest environment for everyone, DO NOT visit the cafeteria or any other public areas or patient rooms while making your way to the Outpatient Registration Area with a specimens(s). Go directly to the Outpatient Registration Area.
  • When registration is complete, take specimen(s) directly to the Central Laboratory Services area of The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine on the 5th floor of the Main Building (Room 5188).

Remember: The clinical laboratory can ONLY process specimens that are collected, labeled, stored and transported correctly.