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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: Cold Agglutinins, Qualitative

Test Code(s): BCAGG / COLD

CPT Code(s): 86156

Methodology: Hemagglutination

Clinical Significance: This test has been found helpful by surgeons for patient's undergoing cardiac bypass. See additional information section for more information.

Days Performed: Daily, 24 hours.

Turnaround Time: Stat: 1 hour.
Routine: 8 hours.

Specimen Requirements

Specimen: Blood

Collection Container: Preferred: Lavender top
Also Acceptable: Pink top tube

Collection Volume: Preferred: 4 mL
Pediatrics: 1 mL

Sample Analyzed: Red cells and plasma

Specimen Processing: Keep specimen at room temperature. Do NOT refrigerate.

Specimen Transport: Transport specimen to UWHC Transfusion Service (C7/381) or send to tube station 134 within 60 minutes of collection.

Unacceptable Criteria: Specimens collected in red cap with yellow ring (SST) tubes, and green cap with yellow ring (PST) tubes, are not acceptable.
Specimens collected in red top tubes are acceptable but will cause delay in testing.

Grossly hemolyzed or lipemic samples are not acceptable.

Stability: Ambient: 24 hours
Refrigerated: Not acceptable
Frozen: Not acceptable


Expected Result:  Negative


Tested and reported at 4°C and room temperature (19-23°C).


A negative interpretation indicates no hemagglutination. A positive interpretation is graded 1+ to 4+ with 4+ showing the strongest reactivity. No reference ranges have been established for this method.

Additional Information:

This test should not be ordered if a titer is indicated. Patients having autoimmune hemolytic anemia secondary to lymphoproliferative disorders or Mycoplasma pneumoniae may have titers greater than 1000. Low titers of cold agglutinins have been demonstrated in Malaria, Peripheral Vascular Disease and common respiratory disease. Please order a Cold Agglutinin Titer for the above indications (see Cold Agglutinin Titer laboratory handbook entry).

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