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Body Fluid Collection Guidelines, Excludes Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)

  • All body fluids must be taken to the laboratory immediately after collection. Hand the specimen directly to the laboratory personnel (do not leave on counter). Note: cell lysis can begin within one hour of collection.
  • Fluid stability is unknown and samples must be tested as soon as possible.   
  • Serous fluid (pleural, peritoneal, pericardial) may contain debris from the collection of the specimen. It is essential to put Hematology samples into EDTA immediately. For Chemistry samples, please see specific requirements in the chart below.
  • Fluid collection for Crystals must follow requirements as indicated in the chart below.
  • If unable to collect optimum volume of fluid refer to the Alphabetical Test Directory for specific test volumes. Samples may be shared for certain tests; contact the laboratory for assistance. ALWAYS indicate priority of test orders on the requisition.
  • State source of fluid on requisition. If samples are collected from more than one site, each specimen and requisition must be labelled with the source. Ensure specimens are labelled with two identifiers.
  • Clotting of sample will occur when fibrinogen is introduced with a traumatic puncture.
  • Pleural fluid pH must be collected in a blood gas syringe. The sample must not be exposed to air (i.e. collect anaerobically and expel all bubbles). DO NOT SEND OTHER FLUIDS IN SYRINGES (WITH OR WITHOUT NEEDLES ATTACHED). 
  • DO NOT SEND FLUIDS IN TRANSFUSION BAGS, OR I.V. BOTTLES FOR HEMATOLOGY OR CHEMISTRY ANALYSIS.
  • DO NOT SEND LARGE VOLUMES OF FLUID. POUR INTO APPROPRIATE CONTAINERS OR CONTACT LABORATORY FOR DIRECTION.
  • See Specimen Requirements Identification - Spinal Fluid and Body Fluid for specimen labelling requirements.
  • Do not refrigerate fluids.
  • The chart below summaries the most frequently ordered tests for the most common fluids. Refer to the Alphabetical Test Directory for additional information. 

 

Fluid Type

Test

Requisition

Volume & Container

Notes

Additional Information

Amniotic

 

CLS Acute Care

 

 

Alphabetical Test Directory for collection guidelines

Dialysate

 

Cell count

CLS Acute Care

3-5 mL in lavender top spray coated EDTA tube

DO NOT send large volumes. MUST NOT be clotted.

Alphabetical Test Directory or contact CLS Hematology Lab

Pleural

pH

Respiratory at ACH, PLC, RGH

CLS Acute Care at FMC, SHC

1.5 mL of pleural fluid collected anaerobically in balanced heparinized blood gas syringe

Alphabetical Test Directory or contact Respiratory at ACH, FMC, PLC, RGH, SHC

Pleural
Peritoneal
Synovial

Cell count
Differential

CLS
Acute Care

4 mL in lavender top spray coated EDTA tube or dark green top sodium heparin tube

Place fluid immediately into tubes after collection; mix well

Alphabetical Test Directory or contact CLS Hematology Lab

Pleural
Peritoneal

Glucose
LD
Total Protein

CLS Acute Care

0.5 – 1 mL in gold top SST or light green (mint) top PST tube

 

Alphabetical Test Directory or contact
Chemistry at DSC, ACH, FMC, PLC, RGH or SHC

Peritoneal
Pericardial

Hgb, HCT

CLS
Acute Care

3-5 mL in lavender top spray coated EDTA tube

 

Alphabetical Test Directory or contact CLS Hematology Lab

Synovial

Glucose
Protein

CLS
Acute Care

0.5 mL in gold top SST or light green (mint) top PST tube

 

Alphabetical Test Directory or contact Chemistry at DSC, ACH, FMC, PLC, RGH or SHC

Synovial

Crystals

Chemistry at FMC, PLC, RGH, SHC & DSC
Hematology

Preferred:
4 mL dark green top sodium heparin tube, not PST

Also acceptable:
- sterile container   (no additive)
- red top tube
- lavender top spray coated EDTA tube

Place fluid into sodium heparin tube immediately after collection; mix 6-8 times

Alphabetical Test Directory or contact Chemistry at FMC, PLC, RGH, SHC or DSC Hematology

Non-Synovial Fluids

Crystals

DSC Hematology

 

Specimen suitability will be assessed by a pathologist and either reported or cancelled

 

All

Aerobic Culture: bacterial, candida (yeast), fungal

CLS Microbiology

Volumes dependent on fluid type

DO NOT send swabs. Send large volumes (up to 80 mLs) of fluid in sterile screw cap containers. Dialysate fluid can be submitted in FAN bottles.
Anticoagulants are not acceptable.

Alphabetical Test Directory or contact Microbiology
Help Desk
403-770-3646

All

Anaerobic culture, includes aerobic culture

CLS Microbiology

Anaerobic transport media (PRAS) or sterile screw cap container

DO NOT use swab. Inject fluid via rubber septum into anaerobic media.
Anticoagulants are unacceptable.

Alphabetical Test Directory or contact Microbiology
Help Desk
403-770-3646

All, FNA

 

CLS Cytopathology

CytoLyt®  container

 

Cytopathology or contact CLS Lab Information Centre 403-770-3600

All, FNA

 

CLS Flow Cytometry

10-20 mL

DO NOT put into cytology fixative. FNA must be in RPMI/TTM solution.

Flow Cytometry
403-944-4771 or
CLS Lab Information Centre 403-770-3600

Fluid

(other than CSF, pleural, stool, urine)

pH

CLS Acute Care Chemistry at ACH, FMC, PLC, RGH, SHC

1 mL collected anaerobically into 1 x 5 mL red top tube or dark green sodium heparin tube

 

Alphabetical Test Directory or contact Chemistry – ACH, FMC, PLC, RGH