Test Directory

Cerebrospinal fluid - M, C & S at RIE, RHCYP and DCN (and all sites OOH)

Containers - Adult

Plain Sterile Universal Container
Volume Range


Additive per Container


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

Transport arrangements

Microscopy for cell count must be performed within 2 hours of specimen collection; please transport to lab as soon as possible.

Sample storage arrangements

If delay in transporting to lab at RIE, store at room temperature.

Special instructions for collection

Analysis of CSF including culture and sensitivity may be useful in the diagnosis of bacterial or fungal meningitis or encephalitis.

For investigation of CNS infection, please send four routine sterile containers with CSF, labelled in sequential order of collection. Send container 1 and 3 to microbiology for cell counts and culture and send container 2 to virology (for PCR) and 4 biochemistry (for protein and glucose +/- xanthochromia). Ensure a paired serum glucose is also sent to allow interpretation of the CSF glucose. 

How to request

Via TRAK (C&S - CSF) or request form


24 hours

Anticipated turnaround

Microscopy within 30 minutes of receipt. Culture: up to 4 days. 

What happens if the result is positive or abnormal

Microscopy telephoned by BMS staff. Abnormal or positive results phoned by microbiologist.

General additional information

If the patient is immunocompromised, further tests can be discussed with a microbiologist. Do not send samples through pneumatic tube system, deliver precious samples by hand. Separate samples should be taken for each discipline required e.g. Biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, mycobacteria.