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A medical diagnosis will not be provided on cytologic specimens judged to be “unsatisfactory.” This policy represents sound medical judgment and is also codified in law by subjective art, so that definition of what is “unsatisfactory” is not always possible or reproducible among pathologists. The following are general guidelines for determination of “unsatisfactory” samples:

  • Samples without any cellular material are considered “unsatisfactory.” Exceptions: Cyst fluids, Spinal fluids, Colloid nodules, Hematomas, Angiomas, Psammoma bodies.

  • Make certain that the cells present are representative of the source. NOTE: In the case of FNA, the determination of “unsatisfactory” needs to be made in conjunction with the radiologist or operator.

  • For sputum samples, a pulmonary component must be present, i.e. alveolar macrophages. Many specimens may be satisfactory for evaluation, but have limitations such as low cellularity, poor slide preparation, poor cellular preservation, poor cellular fixation, obscuring blood, or inflammation. The quality of the material is as important as the quantity.

    Rejection Criteria
  • Insufficient volume
  • Evidence of drying
  • Bacterial/fungal overgrowth
  • Specimen is decomposing
  • Foreign material in the container
  • Specimen is > 12 hours old without preservative or refrigeration
  • Specimen is not properly identified
  • Cytology requisition is not complete
  • Slides are broken

    All Non-Gyn Medical Cytology specimens are to be preserved in CytoLyt® fixative.
    Cytology specimens must be adequately preserved to be acceptable. Make sure that the specimen is for cytology ONLY. If other tests are requested, DO NOT ADD FIXATIVE.This may distort test results.

  • Body Fluids (Peritoneal, Pericardial, Pleural, Ascitic)
  • Breast (FNA’s and cyst fluid)
  • Bronchial Washings, Brushings, Aspirates
  • CSF
  • Fine Needle Aspirations
  • Gastric Washings
  • Sputum
  • Urine
  • Washings (bronchial, gastric, ureteral)

    NOTE:The 50 ml collection tubes are filled with 30 ml of the CytoLyt° preservative. If the fluid amount is greater than 20 ml, aliquot 20 ml and add to the collection tube of CytoLyt®. Refrigerate the remainder of the specimen.