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Body Cavity Effusion Cytology

Test Name
Body Cavity Effusion Cytology
Cytopathologic evaluation for the detection and characterization of malignant cells from metastatic disease. These fluids include pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, synovial fluid, Ascites, and pelvic washings.
Test Code
Specimen Requirements
  • Fresh specimens are preferred.
  • Small volumes – submit the entire specimen.
  • Large volumes – submit at least 50 mL of the specimen.
  • Bloody specimens – we recommend adding 3-5 units of heparin/mL to the collection container before adding the specimen to the container to inhibit clotting.
Supplies for Submission
  • CytoLyt®, if culture is not requested
  • Specimen container
  • Heparin
Specimen Collection
  1. Label all specimen containers with two identifiers. Acceptable identifiers include patient’s name, date of birth, social security number, requisition number, and medical record number.
  2. For small volumes, add 3-5 units of heparin/mL to the specimen container. For large volumes, add 3 units of heparin per mL capacity of the specimen container. Heparin is recommended to inhibit clotting, which obscures cells of interest.
  3. Fresh specimens are preferred; it is not necessary to fix specimens if transport is prompt.
  4. If culture is NOT requested, the specimen may be fixed with at least an equal volume of CytoLyt® immediately.
  5. Tighten the cap and mix the contents thoroughly.
Storage Requirements
  • DO NOT freeze.
  • Refrigerate fresh specimens until transported.
  • Store fixed specimens at room temperature (15 to 30°C).
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Causes for Rejections
Turn Around Time
2-3 days
  • Allowing unfixed fluid to stand for a prolonged period before submitting to the laboratory for processing may cause deterioration and artifact.
  • Specimens in incorrect fixative (such as formalin) can only be processed as cell blocks.
CPT Code