Test Directory

Pleural fluid for TB

Containers - Adult

Plain Sterile Universal Container
Volume Range

1 - 20 ml

Containers - Child

Plain Sterile Universal Container
Volume Range

As adult

Laboratory Site

51 Little France Crescent
Old Dalkeith Road
EH16 4SA
Telephone (Bacteriology): 0131 242 6021 OOH Bleep 2900
Scottish Mycobacteria Reference Lab
Microbiology Department
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Little France Crescent
Edinburgh EH16 4SA
Telephone: 0131 242 6022/3 (Lab) 0131 242 6016 (Office)

Transport arrangements

Transport as soon as is practicable.

Sample storage arrangements

If delay in transporting, store in the fridge (4-6°C).

Special instructions for collection


In patients where there is suspicion of pleural (extra-pulmonary) TB.

How to request

Via Trak ("Mycobacteria TB Ix - Fluids" then specify "Fluid, pleural Mycobact"). Alternatively, order via  request form. 


0900-1700 Mon - Fri. Contact Duty Microbiologist for OOH microscopy requests.

Anticipated turnaround

Microscopy: 1 day. Culture: 4 - 6 weeks. 

What happens if the result is positive or abnormal

Telephoned by Microbiologist

General additional information

It should be noted that pleural or pericardial fluid are not very sensitive samples for the detection of M. tuberculosis, and that a concurrent pleural or pericardial biopsy taken with the fluid is more useful. A negative result on these fluids does not rule out the diagnosis.

For further information, please see Scottish Mycobacteria Reference Laboratory