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Test Code Urine Cytology Urine Cytology

Collection Container

Plastic container with lid

Specimen Required

Urine Cytology

Transport Temperature

Collect fresh and deliver immediately to the Cytology Laboratory.  Refrigerate if delay occurs.

Specimen Stability

Undue delay in transport is cause for rejection.

Reasons for Rejection

24-hour collection; undue delay in transport; failure to include pertinent history; low volume specimens of voided urine; unlabeled or mislabeled specimens container.

Reference Ranges

From  negative to altered cells suggestive of inflammation or repair to cellular changes conclusive for malignant neoplasm.  Negative to positive for viral inclusions.

Turnaround Time

24-48 hours; for same day processing, specimens must be received by 2 PM.

Day(s) and Time(s) Performed

Mon-Fri, 7:30 AM-5PM

Additional Information

Use:  Establish the presence of primary or metastatic neoplasms; aid in the diagnosis of infections with herpesvirus; cytomegalovirus and Schistosoma; evaluate malacoplakia, polyoma virus.  Collection:  Have patient drink one glass of water (6oz.) every 15 minutes for 2-3 hours.  At the end of 2 hours, have the patient void or catheterize; discard specimen.  One hour after collection of discarded specimen, have patient porduce a clean catch voided specimen in a clean container.  Label specimen container with patient's name, date of birth and/or medical record number.  Wash speciimens must be carefully labeled as to the specimen source and ureteral and pelvis washings must clearly designated as to left or right.

CPT Code


Specimen Volume

50 mL or greater

Special Handling Instructions

Limitations:  Voided specimens, expecially on female patients must be clean catch specimens.  The concentration of urothelial cells is extremely diluted by large numbers of squamous cell contaminants if the sample is not a clean catch specimen.  This compromises the validity of a negative diagnosis.  Low-grade papillary transitional cell or urothelial carcinomas may not be diagnosed by cytologic examination.  Calculi and recent instrumentation may produce atypical changes in urothelial cells simulating malignancy.  Chemotherapy and radiation may also produce changes simulating neoplasia.  Viral culture is the method of choice for the diagnosis of CMV.  Note:  Voided urine is much prferred over a catheterized sample due to atypical cell changes caused by trauma.  Low-grade papillary lesions cannot be diagnosed on saline wash specimens without the benefit of correlation with previously obtained voided specimens.