Laboratory Test Information Guide

Details for Cell Count and Differential, Fluid (other than CSF)

Test Name: Cell Count and Differential, Fluid (other than CSF)
Alternate Name(s): Body Fluid Analysis (other than CSF)
Laboratory: Core
Specimen Type: Eligible fluids types include: synovial, pericardial, pleural, peritoneal tap, peritoneal dialysate, peritoneal lavage
Collection Information: A minimum volume of 0.5 mL collected in K2EDTA.
Test Schedule: As required
Turnaround time from when specimen
is received in testing laboratory:
4 hours
1 hour
Reference Range: Total Nucleated Cell Count:
Red Cell Count:

TNC X 109/L RBC X 1012/L Appearance

Synovial Normal: ≤ 0.2 NA Normal:
Group I: ≤ 3.0 yellow,
Group II: 3.0-75 clear or
Group IV: 0.5-200 slightly
Group V: 0.05-10 cloudy

Pleural Normal: < 1.0 NA Normal:
Exudate: ≥ 1.0 Clear, pale,
Effusion: ≥ 10.0 yellow

Normal: < 1.0 Variable Variable

Peritoneal Lavage
Normal: < 0.1 Normal: < 0.025 Normal:
Positive: ≥ 0.5 Trauma: ≥ 0.100 Clear,

Peritoneal Tap
Normal: < 0.3 NA Normal: Clear
Positive: ≥0.3 pale yellow

Peritoneal Dialysate
Normal: <0.1 NA Normal: Clear
Positive: ≥ 0.1 colourless


Synovial < 25% neutrophils
Pleural Mononuclear Cells
Pericardial NA
Peritoneal Lavage NA
Peritoneal Tap Mononuclear Cells
Peritoneal Dialysate Mononuclear Cells
Effective Date: 2006-12-27
Revised Date: 2014-04-30
Critical Value:  
Interpretive Comments: Body fluids are considered to be irreplaceable specimens and are analyzed regardless of whether there are clots or particular matter present. Counts may be inaccurate in these circumstances.

Synovial Fluid Disease Category:

Group I: Noninflammatory
Group II: Inflammatory
Group III: Infectious
Group IV: Crystal-Induced
Group V: Hemorrhagic

Differentials are performed on all peritoneal dialysate fluids.

Differentials are performed on peritoneal lavage, peritoneal tap, pleural and synovial fluids only if the TNC is > 0.3 x 109/L.
Special Processing: Synovial fluids are pretreated with hyaluronidase prior to testing.
Method of Analysis: Total nucleated cell counts and RBC, if indicated, are performed by automated analysis on a Hematology analyzer or manual counted on a Neubauer chamber (when appropriate).

Differentials performed by microscopy.
Critical Information Required: Fluid type
Storage & Shipment: Ship sample at room temperature.

Specimens must be received in the laboratory within 1 hour of collection as cells deteriorate quickly. Testing must proceed as quickly as possible following receipt in the laboratory.
System Codes: 
Referred To:  

Questions? Comments? Contact Laura Gopaul