Pathology Handbook

Sputum - Cytology

Request Form 

Request on ICE (if ICE is not available, a downloadable non-gynae request form is available via a link in the Cellular Pathology section of the Pathology Handbook). 


On request.

Turnaround Time

Reports are normally issued between 4-6 days of reciept. Samples requiring extra work may take longer, please contact the lab for further information on delayed reports.


Specimens should be collected on three consecutive days. These should be expectorated early in the day before eating, drinking or cleaning teeth. Specimens contaminated with food particles are not helpful to the assessment. Send the specimens daily. Do not save until all three are collected.


Send the material that is produced in one expectoration.


White top sputum pot.

Large white top universal


Samples should be transported to the laboratory as soon as possible after collection. If there is a delay between collection and transport, the sample should be refrigerated. Outside laboratory hours, specimens can be left in the post box outside the pathology reception on the first floor of the tower block.

Lab Handling

Store at 2 - 5ÂșC until the sample is prepared. 

Causes For Rejection

Unlabelled/inadequately labelled sample. Inadequately completed request form. Both the sample and request form must contain three patient identifiers.