Jan 09 2011
Andrea Cayea, RN, MIFHI recently wrote this short but helpful monograph for the IFHI Newsletter on securing high-quality fingerprints:
If you are using SWAMI software to calculate a client’s genotype, you’re required to secure some key pieces of information, one of which is fingerprint patterns. I have seen people try various methods to obtain fingerprints – using photocopy machines, rubbing carbon pencils over their fingers to transfer the prints to paper, or the old Sherlock Holmes method of closely studying them under a magnifying glass. Although these methods may allow you to see the fingerprints, they are not an accurate way to obtain this information. During the May conference in Tennessee, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to fingerprint a number of attendees – about 50 people. In doing so, I learned a few things about helping people get the best prints on the first try. Below are a few tips to getting high quality fingerprints.
- Use disposable ink strips specifically designed for fingerprinting. They sell more elaborate systems but the strips are easy to transport, a feature I like for those times when I need to go to the client. They’re quick to set up and easy to use, and you simply discard them when you’re through.
- Tape the inkpad to the edge of the table so it doesn’t move while inking.
- If you only have a fingerprinting card or paper to use, fold it so the bottom edge of the top row can be flush with the edge of the table. Then tape it in place.
- Do not ask your patients to wash their hands prior to fingerprinting. This washes off the natural oils and for some people, especially women, this will make a difference in the results.
- Before you start, explain the whole process prior to letting your client touch the ink. Many people think they know how to fingerprint just because they watched a TV crime show. It is not as easy as it looks, so take some time to explain the process and make sure you have their attention.
- Always start with the same hand, so for example, the right hand prints are always in the top row, and the left hand prints are always in the bottom row. The inking needs to be done on the pad of the finger, not just the tip! The whole first segment (phalange) of the finger needs to be covered in ink from side to side. Inking one finger at a time, roll the finger pad in the ink. Be firm, but be sure not to push down. There should be enough ink to cover the ridges but not fill in the valleys of the print. Turn the finger over, and look to see that is is nicely coated.
- Print one finger at a time and label them as you go so you do not get confused.
- When taking the print, start by placing the side of the finger on the paper and roll the finger once, then lift it straight up off the paper. Whether they roll left to right or right to left makes no difference, but they should only roll once! If they roll their finger back and forth, the result will be a large smudge and not a good print. If this happens, have them redo the print right away, and label them as you go.
- When inking the second finger, try to use an unused part of the inkpad.
- Print both hands. Then let them wash with soap and water. Applying the soap before the water helps the ink come off easier.
Using this method will give you a lasting image of your client’s prints and is the best way to clearly see if they have white lines, an indication that the gastrointestinal tract has had some damage. This gives your client even more reason to follow their diet. If they adhere to their diet, a year later you can fingerprint them again and see if the white lines have diminished, a sign their digestive tract is healing.
Having a good clear print on paper makes a world of difference in accurately
reading print patterns. The internet has loads of resources to help you read
fingerprint patterns. Here are a few:
Here is an audio excerpt from the 2005 IfHI Conference regarding fingerprinting.