Body Fluid Collection Guidelines, Excludes Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)

  • All body fluids must be taken to the laboratory immediately after collection. Hand the specimen directly to the laboratory personnel (do not leave on counter). Note: cell lysis can begin within one hour of collection.
  • Fluid stability is unknown and samples must be tested as soon as possible.
  • If unable to collect optimum volume of fluid refer to the APL Test Directory for specific test volumes. Samples may be shared for certain tests; contact the laboratory for assistance. ALWAYS indicate priority of test orders on the requisition.
  • State source of fluid on requisition. If samples are collected from more than one site, each specimen and requisition must be labelled with the source. Ensure specimens are labelled with two identifiers.
  • Clotting of sample will occur when fibrinogen is introduced with a traumatic puncture.
  • Do not send fluids in transfusion bags, or IV bottles for hematology or chemistry analysis.

Calgary Zone

  • Pleural fluid pH must be collected in a blood gas syringe. The sample must not be exposed to air (i.e. collect anaerobically and expel all bubbles). Do not send other fluids in syringes (with or without needles attached.)
  • Do not send large volumes of fluid. Pour into appropriate containers or contact laboratory for direction.
  • Do not send fluids in MedQuest PreVac containers for cytopathology.
  • See Specimen Identification (this will need to link to the Specimen Identification page under Testing and Collections) for specimen labelling requirements.
  • Do not refrigerate fluids.
  • See Body Fluid Collection Chart which summarizes the most frequently ordered tests for the most common fluids. Refer to the APL Test Directory for additional information.
  • Fluid collection for Crystals must follow requirements as indicated in the Body Fluid Collection Chart.

Central Zone