Cytology Laboratory


      The Cytology Laboratory is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  It is located in Room HL416, University Hospital (telephone 257-3640).  Cytologic specimens are screened for cancer and premalignant processes as well as for certain infections.


Specimen Requirements:


All specimens must be labeled with the patientís name and/or hospital number and accompanied by a requisition.  The cervical (gynecologic) cytology requisition is H489 and the nongynecologic form is J0002.  The Requisition Form must include the patientís name, hospital number, date of birth and sex, source of specimen, clinical diagnosis or symptoms, date specimen was collected, and the attending physicianís name.  The ICD-9 code and any pertinent clinical information should be listed including history of cancer, radiation, or chemotherapy.  Cervical/vaginal specimens also require you to indicate whether the specimen is a routine screen or if the patient has a previous or suspected abnormality, the first day of the patientís last menstrual period, pregnancy status, and other pertinent gynecologic history.  Specimen processing will not be completed if requisition is incomplete. Improperly labeled specimens will not be accepted.


Prepared gyn slides (Pap smears) must be labeled with hospital number or name with a #2 pencil on the frosted end of the slide. When only the container from a gyn specimen is labeled (e.g. the slide itself is unlabeled), the specimen will be acceptable only if a Specimen Verification Form is filled out by the clinician in the Cytology Lab. Liquid (not smeared) cervical/vaginal (Pap) specimens received in 95% ethanol (alcohol) will not be accepted. Call Cytology Laboratory, 7-3640, for information on liquid-based collection fixatives and other new technologies.


Cervical-vaginal smears, smears from brushings, breast discharge smears, and smears for viral inclusions should be immediately fixed in 95% ethanol (alcohol).  Endoscopy brushings can also be submitted in liquid fixative (Call Cytology Lab).  Bottles of 95% ethanol can be obtained from the wards or from PCS.  Other specimens including sputums, effusions, fluids, washings, and urines should be sent fresh without fixation to the laboratory immediately.  (Effusions should be collected in Thoraklax bags.  Fluids may be sent in these bags or plastic specimen containers.  Fluids sent in PLEURA-VACS or large vacuum-sealed glass bottles will not be accepted).  When the laboratory is closed, specimens should be sent to Clinical Laboratory Central Receiving. If there is any delay in submitting a fresh specimen, it must be refrigerated.  If any special testing is desired such as flow cytometry analysis or special stains, indicate this on the requisition.  Send a generous amount of specimen (up to 500ml of an effusion) for optimal cytology evaluations.


If STAT processing is required on a nongynecologic specimen, please call the laboratory.  The attending pathologist will decide on appropriate action.  Respiratory specimens submitted for STAT workup of opportunistic infections also require telephone notification of the Cytology Laboratory.  STAT specimens require hand delivery to the laboratory.


Fine needle aspirations are performed by the pathologists on superficial masses from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Aspirations performed under radiologic guidance can have assistance (make slides and assess adequacy) from the Cytology Laboratory from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Call the Cytology Laboratory to schedule aspiration procedures.


If STAT procedures are required in the evening or on weekends, call the pathology resident on call.