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Test Code C CSF Cerebrospinal Fluid Culture

Biohazard Infectious

Clinical System Name

CSF Culture


Cerebral Spinal Fluid
Lumbar Puncture Fluid
Omaya Reservoir Fluid
Shunt Fluid



Includes Bacterial Culture and Gram Stain. Specimen cultured for Aerobic and Anaerobic bacteria.

Sample Requirements

Specimen: Cerebrospinal Fluid

Container: Sterile Container

Preferred Vol: 1 mL

Minimum Vol: 0.2 mL

Processing Instructions


CPA: Send Tube #2 to Microbiology for processing. If only one tube or syringe is collected, affix shared sample label and send entire sample to Microbiology.


Off-site collection: Off-site Children's Lab locations should set up culture and perform Gram stain. Culture must be set up before remaining sample is refrigerated for courier pickup. Place culture plates in CO2 pouch and incubate until courier pickup.


Other off-site locations, keep sample at room temperature.


Temp Time
Room temp 1 hour
Refrigerated N
Frozen N



Procedure Performed Turn Around Time (TAT)
Gram Stain 24/7

1 hour

Culture 24/7 48 - 72 hours

Gram Stains on sterile fluids are performed STAT with a TAT of 1 hour.

Cultures are read at appropriate intervals to detect early bacterial growth. STAT culture requests are not applicable.

Performing Laboratory

Seattle Children's Laboratory



Microbiology Laboratory

CPT Codes



This test is not limited to the CPT codes listed.  Others may be added as more testing is necessary and depending on the pathogens isolated (example: MIC's and ID codes)

Notifiable Result

Neisseria meningitidis is immediately notifiable to the County Health Department


See Link below for Notifiable Conditions for WA state labs:


See Link below for PDF of phone numbers for Local Health jurisdictions (by County) in WA State:

Reporting Information

Any growth on a sterile fluid is considered positive and reported.


Preliminary Report:  18 - 24 hours

Negative Final Report: 48 hours


When Moderate to Abundant Polys are seen on Gram Stain, culture incubation will be extended up to one week.