The container should be labelled with the patient’s first and last name and NHS number or hospital number or date of birth. The label should also include the type of specimen and site of sample, if appropriate.
These include urine, serous fluids, sputum, cyst aspirates, washings and CSF’s. A sample of 20ml maximum size is adequate for cytology in almost all cases. Larger volumes should not be sent to the laboratory without prior approval from the laboratory. It is appreciated that some samples, such as CSF’s, are often of low volume and smaller samples are acceptable in such circumstances.
Fluid specimens should be sent to the laboratory unfixed, without delay in a standard sterile universal sample container. The container should be labelled with the patient’s first and last name and NHS number or hospital number or date of birth. The label should also include the type of specimen and site of sample, if appropriate. The specimen and the request form should be sent to the laboratory in a plastic specimen bag.
NB. Crystal evaluation on synovial fluid samples are now performed in the Biochemistry laboratory.
Brushings and FNA Specimens:
FNA specimens and brushings should be spread on frosted end slides. The slides should be labelled in pencil (ink is washed off in processing) to include the patient's name and date of birth. If samples are taken from multiple sites, it will be necessary to number the slides to indicate the sources. The material must be spread on slides quickly, and thereafter spray fixed or air dried immediately. Slides must be put into slide transport boxes and thereafter placed in a specimen bag together with the request form for delivery to the laboratory.
Excess material can be expressed into physiological saline (balanced salt solution) and sent to the laboratory as for fluid specimens.
Samples may be rejected if there is a mismatch of demographic information between the request form and sample, incorrect fixation, or significant delays.
Samples should be sent immediately to the laboratory. Delays in transport and processing of the samples, or poor fixation may affect the results.
For consultant advice, please phone 020329934620 or 020329933045 to be appropriately directed.
Bessemer Wing - 2nd Floor
London SE5 9RS
Last updated: 18/10/2021