What are condition codes

A condition code is a 3-letter code that indicates the status of a specimen. Every primary and aliquot in LDMS has a condition code assigned to it. The default condition code for new specimens is SAT (satisfactory), but there are many others.

The majority of condition codes indicate a deviation from the expected handling for a specimen. For example, if a specimen has supposed to be collected in one type of tube but another was used, the INT (incorrect tube type) condition code could be used to indicate this.

There are several places where the condition code of specimens can be changed:

  • In the Specimen Management task, there is a Cond column in both the Primary Grid and the Aliquot Grid that can be used to change the condition code.

  • In the Specimen Management task, the condition code can also be changed in the primary or aliquot Details windows.

  • When importing a shipping file, the condition code for the specimens being important can be changed.

  • In the Storage Management task, the condition code for all specimens in a storage item can be modified together.

The most common use for condition codes is to use them in conjunction with a preload, a feature in LDMS that automatically enters expected specimen collection information when certain criteria is met when entering a new specimen. For example, a preload may add 2 expected primaries. If the participant decided during the visit that they did not want to be stuck with another needle and only one of the primaries was collected, the second primary added by the preload would not exist. While you could simply delete the second primary, there will be no indication why the expected collection is not available in LDMS. Was it not entered in error? Does it not exist? Was it intentionally destroyed because the sample was of poor quality? At this point, there is no way to know for sure.

Using a condition code can solve this problem. By changing the condition code from SAT to SNC (sample not collected), you now know why the expected specimen is not available. There's an additional option within the Details window for aliquots called Reason sample not collected, which allows you to specify the exact reason why it was not collected. By using condition codes, you can document why an expected collection is missing.


Not all networks permit preloads, and some networks do not want condition codes to be used in this manner. Always defer to instructions specific to your network.

Whenever a condition code is applied, it is strongly recommended that you add comments to the affected specimens to describe why the code was applied. These comments can help investigators diagnose discrepancies with study data without needing to contact your laboratory for clarification.

There is a related property to condition codes called never store. Never store indicates that the specimen is not available (for example, because it was never collected).