Table 1.

Cytologic methods and fixation and processing techniques

MethodExamplesFixationProcessingMicroscopyCommon microorganisms
ExfoliativeSputumImmediate or Saccomano’s (Carbowax/alcohol)BlenderSmearsCandida spp.,Aspergillus spp., Cryptococcus spp.,Blastomyces spp.
FreshPick and smear
UrineFresh or refrigeratedCytocentrifuge, membrane filtrationCytospin preparationsCandidaspp., CMV, polyomavirus
EffusionsFresh or refrigeratedCytocentrifuge, cell block, membrane filtrationCytospin preparations, smears, cell block sections
CSFFreshCytocentrifuge, membrane filtrationCytospin preparationsC. neoformans, viruses, T. gondii
AbrasivePap smearImmediate fixation (alcohol)Direct smearSmearCandida spp., Actinomyces spp.,Trichomonas spp., HPV, CMV, HSV
Tzanck preparationAir dryDirect smearSmearHerpesviruses
Endoscopic brushingsImmediate fixation or air dryDirect smearSmearBody site dependent
Brush rinseCytocentrifugeCytospin preparationsFungi, viruses, parasites
AspirationSuperficial: breast, thyroid, salivary gland, lymph node, etc.Immediate fixation or air drySmearSmearBody site dependent (fungi, viruses, bacteria, parasites)
Needle rinseCytocentrifuge, cell blockCytospin preparations, cell block sections
Radiologically guided: lung, liver, pancreas, kidney, etc.Immediate fixation or air drySmearSmearBody site dependent (fungi, viruses, bacteria, parasites)
Needle rinseCytocentrifuge, cell blockCytospin preparations, cell block sections