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Cerebrospinal fluid

Alias: CSF

Discipline: Cytopathology

Test information: CSF samples are tapped directly from the spinal column (lumber puncture) and the amount of fluid obtained is usually small.

Specimen Type(s)
  • Cerebrospinal fluid;
Other Acceptable Specimen Type(s)
Sterile universal - Ensure sample vial is labelled with specimen site / type
Specimen Container - Adult
  • Plain Universal;
Specimen Container - Paediatric
  • Plain Universal;
  • N/A;
Part of a test profile?
Volume (min) of sample to be sent to laboratory
Patient Preparation, Sample Handling and Transport
CSF samples degrade quickly.
Hand deliver to member of the laboratory staff within 1 hour of being taken and before 4pm on weekdays.
Samples should not be taken at weekends.
Sample vials must be placed into a clear sealed specimen bag prior to sending to the laboratory accompanied with a completed request form.
The sample must be transported to the department using the red designated Pathology transport boxes.
These boxes are used by NHS couriers and hospital Porters. They will contain any spillage, and ensure data on samples is kept confidential.
Specimens should never be placed in pockets, handbags etc.
Maximum add on time
Units and Reference Ranges / Interpretation
Interpretative comment
UKAS number
UKAS accredited test?

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Last updated: 03-05-2024