Cytology, Pulmonary

Sunquest Code:NGNCTCoPath Code:NGYN
Epic Code:LAB4600Epic Name:Cytology Non Gyn
Sunquest Code (non-Epic sites):COPATH  
Synonyms:GMS Stain, Cytology; Grocott's Methenamine-Silver Stain; Methenamine-Silver Stain; Silver Stain, Cytology; PCP Stain; Fungal Stain; Fungus; Bronchial Brushings; BAL; Bronchial Wash; Sputum, Cytology
Methodology:Preparation, routine staining and microscopic evaluation of sample. Special stains as ordered by the pathologist and performed at additional charge.
Turnaround Time:Performed daily, Mon-Thur 0800-1500, Fri 0800-1530; results are reported within 1-2 days.
Special Instructions:Include pertinent clinical history. If testing for Pneumocystis, viral and/or fungal indicate on request form. For stat testing for bronchial washing on weekends and holidays, contact the surgical resident on call through the page operator at 612-273-3211 (or 1-800-888-8642 ext. 273-3211). Provide patient's history, source of specimen and desired testing on request form. Also include requesting physician's name and pager number.

Collection Instructions

Specimen:Bronchial brushing, bronchial washing, bronchoalveolar lavage, sputum
Container:Plastic leakproof container, sterile (See Collection Instructions)
Collection Instructions:
Specimen for silver stain should not be fixed in alcohol. Call Cytology prior to sending specimen. Deliver rush bronchoscopy specimens directly to the East Bank Core Lab, Mon-Fri. Bronchoalveolar lavage and bronchial washing specimens received by the East Bank CoreLab by 15:00 Mon-Thurs will be processed the same day. Bronchoalveolar lavage and bronchial washing specimens received by the East Bank CoreLab by 15:30 Fri will be processed the same day. If weekend service is required for a bronchial specimen needing silver stain, bring specimen to East Bank Core Laboratory or East Bank Specimen Management and page the on-call surgical resident.
  • Bronchial Wash/Lavage: Collect fluid in clean, plastic leakproof container or tube: DO NOT USE FIXATIVE.
  • Bronchial Brush: Using standard bronchoscopy technique, identify the lesion in question and obtain a brushing sample of the lesion. Upon withdrawing the brush, agitate the brush vigorously in a 5-10 mL vial of sterile saline or fixative. DO NOT APPLY THE BRUSH DIRECTLY TO SLIDES. If possible, detach the brush and leave it in the vial. Label the vial with patientņs first and last name, date of birth, and specimen source, Submit the specimen along with the completed Cytology test request form to the Cytopathology Laboratory. If transport of the specimen will be delayed more than four hours, the specimen should be submitted in Ringerņs solution. If transport time will be less than four hours, or fixative is not available, the specimen should be refrigerated until transport to the lab.
  • Sputum: Instruct the patient to inhale and exhale deeply, forcing air from the lungs using the diaphragm. Repeat until the patient coughs and is able to produce a sputum specimen. Collect the specimen in the container, attempting to obtain at least one teaspoon of sputum. Specimen should be a deep cough specimen and not saliva. Saliva is of no diagnostic value. Sputum for Pneumoncystis gives extremely low yield and is not recommended; rush processing not available.

Processing and Shipping

Specimen Processing:Do not process. Store container with Ringer's solution and cellular material in refrigerator.
Shipping Instructions:Ship at refrigerated temperature.
  • Fresh unfixed fluid: 24 hours at room temperature; 72 hours refrigerated; frozen is unacceptable.
  • Fixed of unfixed slides: 1 week at room temperature or refrigerated; frozen is unacceptable.
Test Performed at or Referral Lab Cytology  (UMMC-East Bank, Fairview Ridges - FRH, Fairview Southdale - FSH, UMMC/UMMCH-West Bank)


Reference Range:Reported as negative to positive for malignant cells or other abnormalities.

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