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Sputum Specimens (Cytology)

Alias: N/A

Discipline: Cytopathology

Test information: Sputum assessment can be limited and should only be used in patients that are unable to tolerate any invasive procedures.

Specimen Type(s)
  • Sputum;
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
Sputum samples should be expectorated in the morning using a deep cough.
Three consecutive samples over three days should be sent to the laboratory.
Do not batch the samples. Send them on each day taken, this avoids sample deterioration.
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. **Temporary storage prior to transportation In the event that there is a delay to porters or couriers then cytology samples that are not in a fixative must be refrigerated to reduce degradation of the sample. Samples in fixative must be stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight or heat sources. In all situations patient confidentiality must be maintained.
Histopathology and cytology samples must never be delivered from GP's or hospitals via Public Taxi's. Only to be transported through NHS Couriers.
Maximum add on time
Units and Reference Ranges / Interpretation
UKAS number
UKAS accredited test?

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Last updated: 03-05-2024