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Fine Needle Aspirate

Alias: FNA

Discipline: Cytopathology

Test information: Obtained by needle aspiration of mass or lymph nodes with or without US guidance.

Specimen Type(s)
  • Fine needle aspirates;
Other Acceptable Specimen Type(s)
Slides - plastic slide box, needle washings - sterile universal. Ensure sample vial is labelled with specimen site / type
Specimen Container - Adult
  • Glass slides;
  • Plain Universal;
Specimen Container - Paediatric
  • Glass slides;
  • Plain Universal;
  • N/A;
Part of a test profile?
Volume (min) of sample to be sent to laboratory
Patient Preparation, Sample Handling and Transport
Slides may be produced by placing a small drop of aspirated material onto a clean slide labelled with at least 3 patient identifiers plus the site sampled. A second slide is then used to make a smear preparation (training can be arranged with the cytology department).
Slides should be allowed to fully air dry before being placed into a container.
The needle should then be washed into isotonic saline.
Ideally an extra pass is required for the needle washings. These are essential for any ancillary testing and must be received in the laboratory within 12 hours to reduce sample degradation.
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
Interpretative comments
UKAS number
UKAS accredited test?

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Last updated: 03-05-2024