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Test Code C CSF SHUNT CSF Culture, Shunt Associated

Clinical System Name

CSF Culture, Shunt Associated



CSF Shunt Culture

Culture, CSF Shunt
VP Shunt Fluid

Ventricular Fluid
Omaya Reservoir Fluid
Shunt Fluid

Shunt Site

Shunt tip



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


This culture is specifically for shunt associated infections. The broth cultures are held for 10 days, at which time a blind subculture is performed. This process is used to rule out infection with fastidious organisms such as Propionibacterium.

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 12 days

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: 16 days


Broth culture incubation is automatically extended up to 10 days for shunt associated CSF cultures.