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Test Mnemonic:
Specimen Requirements:

Preferred: Fresh specimens sent to the laboratory immediately. 

 Note: The best time for collection of sputum is early in the morning just after waking. A deep cough effort at this time is often very productive. Before coughing up sputum, first clear the mouth by spitting out or washing out saliva and food particles. Then cough deeply and vigorously to raise sputum from the lungs. All that can be raised at this time should be put into the collection bottle. It may take 15-30 minutes of intermittent coughing attempts in the morning to produce enough material. When having difficulty, sputum coughed up at any time of the day may also be used. Try to collect as much of this sputum raised during the day as you can. Avoid the natural tendency to swallow it. Keep the sputum container in a convenient place, if possible, to aid in this collection. Always keep the cap tightly screwed on when not coughing.

Test Included:

Evaluation for malignant/abnormal cells.  Special stains for fungi can be performed on samples to confirm the presence of Pneumocystis.


Well-constructed container with secure lid and sealed plastic bag

Minimum Volume:

1 ml


Specimen can be refrigerated 1-2 days. Call the laboratory if more than 2 days old.


Acceptable: specimens refrigerated 1-2 days.

Causes for Rejection:

Delayed delivery of fresh specimens, incomplete and/or improper labeling, insufficient pertinent clinical history.

Reference Range:
Turnaround Time:

Routine: 1-3 working days; STAT: same day


Specimens are accepted Monday-Friday from 8 AM-5 PM (except holidays) at Room 4.610, Clinical Services Wing (CSW).  After hours specimens should be dropped off at sample managment on the 7th floor CSW




sputum expectorated, sputum induced

Clinical Indication:

Detection of abnormal cells and malignant cells and/or detection of Pneumocystis jiroveci.

Please indicate which of the above is required.

When ordering tests for which Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement will be sought, physicians should only order tests that are medically necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of the patient. Components of the organ or disease panels may be ordered individually. The diagnostic information must substantiate all tests ordered and must be in the form of an ICD-10 code or its verbal equivalent.
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