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Ascitic fluid

About This Test

Department: Microbiology, Virology and Molecular Microbiology


Minimum 1ml, ideally 20-25ml



Turnaround Time:

Microscopy - same day, culture 2-7 days

White cell count, Gram stain and culture for common pathogens

White cell differential will be performed if WCC >250 x 10 6/L

Other Comments:

Collection container: Sterile plain container, blood culture bottle if applicable (see below)

Special instructions - Fluid may be put into blood culture bottles if SBP is suspected, but separate sample must be sent in sterile container for cell count and Gram stain. Cell count cannot be performed on fluid inoculated into blood culture bottles.

See: Guidelines on the management of ascites in cirrhosis, Aithal. et al, Gut 2020

NB for all microbiology requests, relevant clinical data and details of recent or current antimicrobial treatment should be provided:

Specimen transport: If processing is delayed, refrigeration is preferable to storage at ambient temperature