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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: Culture, CSF with Gram stain

Test Code(s): SFC / HCSFC, WASFC / GM4210

CPT Code(s): 87070, 87015, 87205, 87075; Additional CPT codes may be added for processing, identification, and susceptibility testing.

Test Description: Test Component:

Gram stain and culture.

Methodology: Culture, Microscopy

Days Performed: Daily.

Turnaround Time: Routine: Preliminary report: 24 hours. Final report: Negative cultures 5 days. Report on specimens from which pathogens are isolated require a minimum of 48 hours for completion. Turnaround time for negative anaerobic culture specimens is 10 days.

Specimen Requirements

Specimen: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

Collection Instructions: Submit tube 2 from lumbar puncture tray, or shunt/ventriculostomy fluid in sterile screw cap container.

Collection Container: Preferred: Numbered specimen tube from sterile disposable lumbar puncture tray
Also Acceptable: Sterile screw cap container

Sample Analyzed: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) aliquot

Specimen Transport: Transport specimen to UWHC Microbiology Laboratory (B4/231) within 2 hours of collection.

Stability: Ambient: 2 hours
Refrigerated: Not acceptable
Frozen: Not acceptable


Expected Results:

No growth

Critical Calls: View

Additional Information:

Anaerobic culture may also be ordered on shunt/ventriculostomy fluid if collected in anaerobic transport medium (UWHC Central Services item#22000060) or in sterile syringe if received in lab within 30 minutes of collection.


Anaerobic culture for Proprionibacterium species for ventricular and shunt fluid specimens only. For lumbar puncture specimens order Culture, CSF with Gram Stain.


Turnaround time for negative anaerobic culture specimens is 10 days.

Spinal Fluid  Cerebrospinal Fluid

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