Collection Tubes

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Cerebrospinal Fluid. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Collection Tubes

The sterile tubes used for CSF collection are generally pre-numbered 1 through 3 or 4, with tube 1 being the first tube filled.
  • Tube 1 is used for chemistry and immunology testing.
  • Tube 2 can be used for microbiology testing.
  • Tube 3 can be used for hematology testing.
  • Tube 4 is reserved for non-routine studies.
Whether 3 or 4 tubes are collected, the first tube obtained should not be used for microbiology or hematology testing because of possible contamination from the lumbar puncture. This will also ensure that any peripheral blood that may have contaminated the sample during the lumbar puncture has cleared.