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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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Stained Cytospin Preparations of CSF

All white cells present in a cerebrospinal fluid must be identified. The types of nucleated cells present are important for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, a well-prepared CSF slide is crucial.

The slide for microscopic examination should be made from the same sample tube as the tube used for the cell count. The slide should be clearly labeled to ensure positive patient identification.
A slide for microscopic examination of CSF should be made using a cytocentrifugation technique (cytospin). Alternate methods of slide preparation, such as concentration of cells by traditional centrifugation and manual smear methods, are not recommended as morphologies may not be maintained and sufficient cells may not be present on the slide for accurate evaluation of the sample.
Stain the slides with Wright or Wright-Giemsa stain and perform differential counts.