Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)

IN ALL CASES the Microbiology Department must be informed when a CSF has been taken.

During normal working hours the Laboratory must be informed directly via extension 2687.

At all other times the Microbiology BMS on call must be contacted via switchboard

It is the responsibility of the Doctor initiating the request to ensure that CSF samples are expected by the Laboratory, if requesting this test out of hours, please only phone the on-call BMS once you have taken the sample. Please remember to put your bleep or contact details on the request form so the result can be phoned to you.

For routine Microbiological investigation at least 1 ml of CSF should be sent in sterile universal containers.

For cases of suspected subarachnoid haemorrage (SAH) at least 2 samples should be sent to Microbiology (ideally the first and last specimen taken) for a cell count, with 1 sample being protected from light and sent to Biochemistry for xanthochromia (normally this should be sample 2).
Samples will automatically be sent for PCR testing by laboratory staff if microscopy results indicate infection and/or after discussion with the Consultant Microbiologist, but please indicate on form or order a PCR test on ICE if this is specifically required.

For biochemical investigations (e.g protein and glucose) further specimens should be sent in accordance with their protocol. Please refer to their web pages.