CSF Culture & Stain

Test Mnemonic


CPT Codes

  • 87205 - QTY (1)
  • 87070 - QTY (1)
  • 87015 - QTY (1)



Performing Laboratory

Cleveland Clinic Laboratories

Specimen Requirements

Volume Type Container Collect Temperature Transport Temperature Special Instructions
2 mLCerebrospinal fluid (CSF)Sterile container Ambient 


Environmental Condition Description
Ambient24 hours

Days Performed

Sun - Sat

Turnaround Time

10 days


Name Description

Reference Range

CSF Culture & Stain
Sex Age From Age To Type Range Range Unit
       Culture: No growth; CSF Stain: No organisms seen. 
Gram Stain
Sex Age From Age To Type Range Range Unit
~      No organisms seen 

Special Info

Aseptically collect CSF from a lumbar puncture into sterile tubes. Send second tube to the Microbiology laboratory. Include specimen description (eg, LP, shunt) on requisition. Do not refrigerate specimens. CSF Gram stains are performed STAT (within 1 h of receipt in laboratory). If culture is positive, identification will be performed at an additional charge for clinically significant organisms. Identification CPT codes that may apply include: 87077, 87106, 87107, 87153, 87158. Antimicrobial susceptibilities are performed when indicated, and the following CPT codes may apply: 87181, 87184, 87185, 87186.

Clinical Info

If anaerobic infection is suspected, also order an anaerobic culture (ANACUL) in addition to the aerobic culture (CSFCUL). An order for CSFCUL on a shunt specimen includes a broth culture incubated for 14 days to optimize recovery of Cutibacterium (formerly Propionibacterium) acnes.