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CSF Test

Also known as Fluid Analysis Microscopy Csf
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What is this test?

Fluid Analysis Microscopy Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Test is used to analyze the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF- a fluid found in the brain and spinal cord) to diagnose the diseases or conditions affecting the brain and spinal cord.

What is Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)?

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) is a liquid found in the brain and spinal cord. It is clear, watery liquid that protects the brain and spinal cord. CSF is produced and secreted by the cells called choroid plexus in the ventricles (chambers) of the brain. Normally 500 ml of CSF are produced each day, circulated and then absorbed into the blood.

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a barrier that separates the brain from the bloodstream. This barrier helps in the exchange of substances between the blood and the CSF. Any disruption to this barrier may affect the normal level or type of constituents of CSF.

Variety of conditions and diseases can affect the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Conditions that increase pressure within the brain, bleeding, hydrocephalus (accumulation CSF in the brain), autoimmune diseases such as Guillain-Barre syndrome and multiple sclerosis, infections such as meningitis (infection in the tissue layers that surround the brain and spinal cord), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), brain tumors, etc may affect normal level or type of constituents of CSF. Normally, CSF contains a small number of proteins, glucose and white blood cells. In case of any diseases or conditions affecting the brain and spinal cord, the levels of these constituents may get disrupted.

This test helps to diagnose a variety of diseases or conditions affecting the brain and spinal cord. It is also important to detect the amount of pressure in the spinal fluid.

Why this test is performed?

This test is performed to diagnose the conditions or diseases that may affect the normal level or type of constituents of CSF. Your doctor may ask to perform this test if he suspects any central nervous system disorders, such as autoimmune diseases like Guillain-Barre syndrome and multiple sclerosis, or brain tumors. This test is also recommended to diagnose any infections such as meningitis (infection in the tissue layers that surround the brain and spinal cord), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and to look for signs of injury, bleeding in the brain and spinal fluid.

You may also be advised to perform this test if you experience any symptoms related to a condition or disease involving your central nervous system. However, based on the test results your doctor may ask to perform a few more additional tests to find the exact cause of the conditions or diseases that are suspected.

Also known as Fluid Routine Examination Microscopy CSF.

Test Preparation

Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your CSF Test. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for CSF Test.

Your healthcare provider may ask to empty your bladder and bowel before the test. You may have to lie still in a curled-up fetal position during the sample collection. After the sample collection just lies flat and still for a time period. Follow all the instructions given by your healthcare provider.

Understanding your test results

If the test results show the presence of very high levels of proteins, white blood cells, and a cloudy or turbid CSF, it may indicate infections such as meningitis (infection in the tissue layers that surround the brain and spinal cord), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), brain tumor, or other inflammatory diseases. However, a few more additional tests may also be performed depending on the suspected cause and typical results to diagnose the exact cause of the condition.

Increased neutrophils levels in the CSF may indicate a bacterial infection and an increased lymphocytes levels may indicate a fungal or viral infection. High levels of eosinophils may indicate a parasitic infection.

The presence of red blood cells in the CSF may indicate a bleeding in the brain and spinal fluid, or any CSF circulatory disorders. Individuals with acute alcohol use disorder may also show high levels of protein in CSF.

If the test results show very low levels of proteins and cell count than the normal range in the fluid, it may indicate increased pressure within the brain, leakage of CSF from dural tear (a thin covering over the spinal cord), hyperthyroidism (a thyroid condition due to the overproduction of thyroid hormones), or leukemia (blood cancer).

If you get abnormal test results, consult with your doctor immediately. Based on the test results, your doctor may advise you appropriate medical treatments or further diagnostic tests.

GenderAge groupsValue
UNISEXAll age groups< 5 cells/ mm cube, predominantly lymphocytes (60%)
UNISEXAll age groupsCell Type is reported by the pathologist depending on the cause
UNISEXAll age groups50-80 mg/dl
UNISEXAll age groups15-45mg/dl
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