Pathology Handbook

Pleural fluid (microbiology)

Test Includes

Culture for aerobic and anaerobic organisms 
WBC count 
Microscopy for acid fast bacilli (AFB)
Culture for Mycobacteria sp

Clinical Indications


Request Form 

Request on ICE


On request

Specific Criteria

Please give detailed clinical information, including date of onset/contact with the suspected infection, and any current, or intended, antibiotic therapy

Turnaround Time

Microscopy: routine - same day; AFB - next normal working day
Culture: routine - 48 hours; Mycobacteria - up to 6 weeks for a negative report


Pleural fluid


White capped universal

Urine bottle white top


Samples should be transported to laboratory immediately

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled sample

Lab Handling

Process on receipt