Differences in total protein concentration, nucleated cell count, and red blood cell count among sequential samples of cerebrospinal fluid from horses

Corinne R. Sweeney Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348-1692.

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 DVM, DACVIM
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Gail E. Russell Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348-1692.

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Abstract

Objective—To examine total protein concentration and cell counts of sequentially collected samples of CSF to determine whether blood contamination decreases in subsequent samples and whether formulas used to correct nucleated cell count and total protein concentration are accurate.

Design—Case series.

Animals—22 horses.

Procedure—For each horse, 3 or 4 sequential 2-ml samples of CSF were collected from the subarachnoid space in the lumbosacral region into separate syringes, and blood was obtained from the jugular vein. Total protein concentration, nucleated cell count, and RBC counts were determined in all samples.

Results—Among 3 sequential samples, total protein concentration and RBC count were significantly lower in samples 2 and 3, compared with sample 1. Nucleated cell count was significantly lower in sample 3, compared with sample 1. Among 4 sequential samples, total protein concentration and RBC count were significantly lower in samples 2, 3, and 4, compared with sample 1. Nucleated cell count was significantly lower in samples 3 and 4, compared with sample 1. For 3 correction formulas, significant differences in corrected values for nucleated cell count and total protein concentration were detected between sample 1 and sample 3 or 4.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Because iatrogenic blood contamination decreases in sequential CSF samples, a minimum of 3 samples should be collected before submitting the final sample for analysis. Formulas to correct nucleated cell count and total protein concentration are inaccurate and should not be used to correct for blood contamination in CSF samples. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:54–57)

Abstract

Objective—To examine total protein concentration and cell counts of sequentially collected samples of CSF to determine whether blood contamination decreases in subsequent samples and whether formulas used to correct nucleated cell count and total protein concentration are accurate.

Design—Case series.

Animals—22 horses.

Procedure—For each horse, 3 or 4 sequential 2-ml samples of CSF were collected from the subarachnoid space in the lumbosacral region into separate syringes, and blood was obtained from the jugular vein. Total protein concentration, nucleated cell count, and RBC counts were determined in all samples.

Results—Among 3 sequential samples, total protein concentration and RBC count were significantly lower in samples 2 and 3, compared with sample 1. Nucleated cell count was significantly lower in sample 3, compared with sample 1. Among 4 sequential samples, total protein concentration and RBC count were significantly lower in samples 2, 3, and 4, compared with sample 1. Nucleated cell count was significantly lower in samples 3 and 4, compared with sample 1. For 3 correction formulas, significant differences in corrected values for nucleated cell count and total protein concentration were detected between sample 1 and sample 3 or 4.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Because iatrogenic blood contamination decreases in sequential CSF samples, a minimum of 3 samples should be collected before submitting the final sample for analysis. Formulas to correct nucleated cell count and total protein concentration are inaccurate and should not be used to correct for blood contamination in CSF samples. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:54–57)

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