Lab

CSF Blood

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CSF Blood, CSF Red Blood Cell, CSF RBC, Xanthochromia

  • See Also
  1. Cerebrospinal Fluid
  2. Lumbar Puncture
  • Pathophysiology
  • Xanthochromia
  1. Xanthochromia is yellow, red or orange supernatant discoloration of centrifuged CSF (due to oxyhemoglobin, Bilirubin)
  2. Hemoglobin breaks down into oxyhemoglobin (after 2 hours) and then Bilirubin (after 10 hours)
  3. Indication of free Hemoglobin or a breakdown product in the CSF
  4. Follows RBC lysis, occuring within hours of RBCs first present in CSF
  • Technique
  1. Count Red Blood Cells in first and third tubes
  • Interpretation
  • For each 500-1000 RBCs/mm3
  1. CSF Leukocytes increase by 1
  2. CSF Protein rises 1 mg/deciliter
  • Causes
  • CSF Red Blood Cells
  1. Subarachnoid Hemorrhage or intracranial bleeding
    1. RBC Count unchanged between first and third tubes
    2. Blood does not clot
    3. Xanthochromia suggests bleeding
      1. See CSF Color
      2. CSF supernatant xanthochromic on centrifugation
      3. Requires at least 2 to 4 hours from onset of bleeding, and peaks at 24-46 hours
      4. Traumatic tap with >5000 to 10,000 RBC/uL can also cause Xanthochromia
  2. Traumatic tap
    1. RBC Count decreases between first and third tubes
    2. CSF becomes clear on centrifugation
    3. Consider repeating tap at higher interspace
  • Causes
  • Xanthochromia
  • References
  1. Aldeen and Rosenbaum (2017) 1200 Questions Emergency Medicine Boards, 3rd ed, Wolters Kluwer, Baltimore, p. 123
  2. Kooiker in Roberts (1998) Procedures in ER, p. 1067-75
  3. Ravel (1995) Lab Medicine, Mosby, p. 294-9
  4. Tunkel in Mandell (2000) Infectious Disease, p. 974-8
  5. Seehusen (2003) Am Fam Physician 68:1103-8 [PubMed]