Ascitic Fluid

Ascities is the collection of fluid within the peritoneal cavity. Microbiology will perform microscopy (cell count and Gram Stain), isolation, identification and susceptibility of any organism likely to be pathogenic. Microscopy results are available within 4 hours of receipt of sample, negative culture results will be issued at 48 hrs, positive cultures 2-3 days. Please indicate where high risk organisms are implicated (such as TB).
Clinical details: 
Small amounts of ascities may be asymptomatic but as the volume increases the patient may experience abdominal distension and discomfort with respiratory distress in extreme cases. Causes of ascites can be non-peritoneal (i.e. Cirrhosis, hepatic congestion, ovarian disease) and peritoneal (i.e. bacterial infection, tuberculosis peritonitis, fungal disease, cancer).
Synonyms or keywords: 
Sample type and Volume required: 
Ascitic fluid. Please send 10- 20 ml in a plain sterile universal container.
Turnaround time: 
Cell count and Gram stain same day (within 4 hrs), Culture result 2 - 3 days. Significant Gram stain and culture results are telephoned to the ward or clinical team by Microbiology Clinical staff.
Storage and transport: 
Place labelled sample in a sealed sample bag and send to Central Specimen Reception (CSR).
Infection Sciences Department at St Thomas' Hospital
020 7188 8008
St Thomas' Hospital
North Wing - 5th Floor
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7EH
Core opening hours: Monday-Friday 0900-1730

For clinical advice or interpretation of results, please contact the laboratory in the first instance.

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Last updated: 27/11/2017