The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Non-Gynaecological Samples useful information

All fresh unfixed specimens (i.e. urine, sputum, effusions, cyst contents, bronchial lavage) should be placed in sterile universal containers and sent to the laboratory within four hours. Refrigeration at 4°C is highly effective at reducing degeneration and effusions can be kept satisfactorily in this way for 48 hours i.e. over a weekend. Other samples do not have this lifespan.

The first morning sample is not ideal because the cells degenerate overnight. The next sample is the sample of choice, preferably after exercise.

Sputum should only be sent for analysis if there is strong clinical and imaging suspicion of malignancy. The sample must come from the chest (i.e. not saliva), so physiotherapy may be helpful if the patient does not have a regular productive cough. Overnight secretions accumulated in the bronchi may allow acquisition of a sample first thing in the morning. Samples should be fresh and not the overnight contents of a spittoon.

Bronchial Lavage / Brushings
Lavage samples should ideally be sent in a sterile universal container; if traps are used they should be securely sealed and secured in a transport bag as leaks are common.

Slides for bronchial brushings samples can be obtained from the cytology Laboratory on (0113) 20 66091. Slides should be labelled with the requisite patient identifiers IN PENCIL.

A minimum of 5ml of fluid and a maximum of 2 full universal containers per patient is required.

FNA’s (Fine needle aspirates)
FNA samples should be collected into sterile universal containers containing approximately 5ml of CytoRich Rich Red Collection Fluid. 

Universals can be obtained from:

  • Cytology.      Chancellors Wing, SJUH (0113) 206 6091

Samples are stable once in preservative fluid, but should ideally be sent to the laboratory on the day of collection.

CSF’s (Cerebro spinal fluids)
CSF samples should ideally be received in the laboratory within 2 hours of the sample being taken. If you are unable to send samples within the appropriate time frame, a few drops of 10% formal saline should be added to the sample to preserve the specimen.