St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Cerebrospinal fluid culture

    Culture - CSF; Spinal fluid culture; CSF culture

    A cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture is a laboratory test to look for bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the normally clear fluid that moves in the spacearound the spinal cord.

    How the Test is Performed

    A sample of CSF is needed. This is usually done with a lumbar puncture. For information on how this procedure is performed, see spinal tap.

    The sample is sent to the laboratory, where it is placed in a special dish (called a culture medium). The laboratory personnel watch to see if bacteria, fungi, or viruses grow in the dish. Growth means there is an infection.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    For information on how to prepare for the procedure to obtain the CSF sample, see spinal tap.

    How the Test Will Feel

    For information on how it will feel to have a sample of CSF fluid removed, see spinal tap.

    Why the Test is Performed

    Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of an infection that affectsthe brain or nervous system. The test will help identify what is causing the infection. Thiswill helpyour doctor decide on the best treatment.

    Normal Results

    A normal result means no bacteria, viruses, or fungi grew in the laboratory dish. This is called a negative result.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    If bacteria are present, you may have bacterial meningitis. Other possible infections include tuberculosis and fungal infections. Some bacteria or viruses can also be detected using special tests.

    Finding bacteria does not necessarily mean the infection is contagious, unless it is meningococcal meningitis.

    See also:

    • Aseptic meningitis
    • Cryptococcosis

    Risks

    A laboratory culture poses no risk to you. For risks fromthe procedure done to get a CSF sample, see spinal tap.

    References

    Griggs RC, Jozefowicz RF, Aminoff MJ. Approach to the patient with neurologic disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2011:chap 403.

    Swartz MN, Nath A. Meningitis: bacterial, viral, and other. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2011:chap 420.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Pneumococci organism

      illustration

      • Pneumococci organism

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Talking to your MD

          Self Care

            Tests for Cerebrospinal fluid culture

            Review Date: 9/2/2012

            Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
            adam.com

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            History
            Mission
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs
            Assessment

            Newsroom
            Services
            Brain & Spine
            Cancer
            Heart
            Maternity
            Orthopedics
            Pulmonary
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            mystlukes
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Health Risk Assessments
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Volunteer
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            Careers
            Careers
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile