CSF analysis

What is CSF Analysis?

CSF analysis is a type of laboratory test that involves the evaluation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). It is a fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and is produced in the ventricles of the brain. CSF analysis is helpful for diagnosing a number of neurological and infectious diseases. It involves the evaluation of different components of CSF such as proteins, glucose, cells, and chemistry.

Preparation for CSF Analysis

The sample of CSF is collected through lumbar puncture, also known as spinal tap. Before performing the procedure, the patient needs to be adequately hydrated. The patient needs to fast for a minimum of 8 to 10 hours before the collection. During the procedure, the patient is asked to lie on the left side along with the help of pillows to position the body into a comfortable position.

Procedure for CSF Analysis

Once the patient is is ready for the procedure, the area below the lower back region is made sterile. The skin near the puncture site is numbed using a topical anesthetic. A needle is inserted in the lower back region of the patient from which the sample of CSF is collected. After the collection of the CSF sample, the needle is removed and the puncture site is covered with a sterile bandage.

Types of CSF Analysis

  • Routine Tests: Tests such as cell count, total protein, glucose, cholesterol, lactate, bicarbonate, and albumin are included in the routine test of CSF. These tests provide a general concept of the condition of the CNS.
  • Chemical Tests: These tests are used to detect the presence of any chemical compounds in the CSF. Tests such as ammonia, neurotransmitters, and myelin basic proteins are included in the chemical tests.
  • Microbiological Tests: These tests are used to determine the presence of any microorganism in the CSF such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses. These tests are helpful in detecting the presence of meningitis.
  • Genetic Tests: These tests are used to detect any genetic abnormalities in the CSF. These tests help to diagnose genetic diseases such as Huntington’s disease.

Risks of CSF Analysis

Lumbar puncture is an invasive procedure and carries some risks. A hematoma or blood accumulation can occur in the puncture site. There may also be an infection at the puncture site. In some rare cases, there may be a spinal headache after the collection of CSF.

Why Perform CSF Analysis?

CSF analysis is used to diagnose a number of neurological and infectious diseases. It is particularly useful for diagnosing meningitis, encephalitis, and multiple sclerosis. It is also used to evaluate the cause of seizures, stroke, and brain abscess. CSF analysis helps to assess the CSF pressure and also detect increased intracranial pressure.

When to Perform CSF Analysis?

CSF analysis is performed when there is a suspicion of any neurological or infectious disease. It is also performed when there is an indication of increased intracranial pressure. CSF analysis is also recommended when a person is having recurrent seizures or is showing symptoms of stroke.