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Cerebrospinal Fluid

  • Synonyms: CSF, ventricular tap, shunt fluid. 
  • Performing lab: Cytopathology (N018); Ext: 4-1550 
  • Availability: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
  • Turnaround time: One to two working days. 
  • Specimen type: Cerebrospinal fluid 
  • Container: 5-15 mL container with tight-fitting lid
  • Volume: 2-10 mL 
    • Minimum volume: 1 mL

Special instructions

  • Bring to the laboratory as soon as possible and refrigerate.
  • Indicate if lumbar or ventricular tap or shunt.

Storage information

  • Immediate refrigeration. (N018 - available 24 hours)

Specimen transport requirements

  • Cytologic specimens should be labeled with printed barcoded labels (Do not put label on tops)
  • Placed in a biohazard bag and transported with the printed requisition to the Cytology Laboratory, N018
  • Logged in and placed on the top shelf of the refrigerator

Causes for rejection

  • Inadequate identification
  • Improper fixation
  • Specimen type not identified

More information

  • Complete the Non-Gyn cytology order in EPIC to include pertinent history, prior diagnostic/therapeutic procedures, X-ray, clinical findings and results of prior surgeries.
  • Outreach facilities should use the preprinted “University Outreach Pathology Requisition” and submit with the sample.
  • Indicate request for additional special stains or other procedures.
  • Indicate if body fluid precautions are necessary.