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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: Cytology, Sputum

Test Code(s): HCPATHM

CPT Code(s): 88112

Request Form: Cytopathology (UWH 1280520A)

Days Performed: Mon-Fri, 0800-1700.

Turnaround Time: Routine: 1 - 2 days.

Specimen Requirements

Specimen: Sputum

Patient Preparation: Prior to collecting the sputum sample, instruct the patient to clear the throat of postnasal secretions, gargle and rinse the mouth to remove food residue.

Collection Instructions: Early morning sputum specimens yield the greatest number of diagnostic cells. Submit 3 consecutive daily sputum specimens in separate labeled containers.  ALL SPECIMENS MUST BE SUBMITTED IN PREFILLED CYTOLYT CONTAINERS OR FRESH WITHOUT THE ADDITION OF ANTICOAGULANT.

Home-collect sputum specimens should be collected in a sterile container, refrigerated immediately. Transport to clinic or lab within 24 hours of collect, keep @ 37F during transport.

Ordering instructions for CytoLyt Specimen Collection Cups:
UWHC clinics order through Central Supply, item #4013061.
UWMF clinics order through the UWMF Storeroom. Call (608)262-6855.
WRMC clinics order through the WRMC Laboratory. Call (920) 262-4744.

Collection Container: Preferred: ThinPrep CytoLyt prefilled container
Also Acceptable: Sterile screw cap container

Volume Required: Preferred: 5 - 15 mL

Specimen Processing: Tighten the lid securely.

Specimen Transport: Place specimen inside a biohazard bag with the request form in the outside pocket of the bag. Transport specimen to UWHC Core Laboratory (B4/220) within 1 hour of collection.

Outreach Specimen Transport: Refrigerate specimen following collection. All sputum specimens submitted fresh must have CytoLyt added prior to transport. Transport with coolant pack; avoid freezing.

Unacceptable Criteria: Addition of anticoagulant.

Stability: Ambient: 4 hours; 8 Days in CytoLyt
Refrigerated: 24 hours; 8 Days in CytoLyt
Frozen: Not Acceptable


Report provides interpretation.  Contact UWHC Cytology Lab at (608) 263-3205 for further information.

Test Limitations:

The patient must be able to produce a deep cough specimen. If pulmonary macrophages ("dust cells") are not confirmed microscopically, the specimen is considered unsatisfactory for diagnosis. Abnormal findings must be correlated with history and other test results.

Additional Information:

Paperwork must include the patient's name, medical record number, date of birth, specimen source, collection date, clinic and phone number, clinician's full name and pager number, and pertinent clinical history.

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