Test Catalog

Interpretive Handbook

Test 36032 :
Fungal Culture, Spinal Fluid

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Many fungi in the environment cause disease in severely compromised human hosts. Accordingly, the range of potential pathogenic fungi has increased as the number of immunosuppressed individuals (eg, persons with AIDS, patients receiving chemotherapy, or transplant rejection therapy) has increased.


Few fungal diseases can be diagnosed clinically; many are diagnosed by isolating and identifying the infecting fungus in the clinical laboratory.

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Diagnosing fungal infections from cerebrospinal fluid (separate tests are available for other specimen sites)

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Positive cultures of yeast and filamentous fungi are reported with the organism identification.


The clinician must determine whether or not the presence of an organism is significant. A final negative report is issued after 24 days of incubation.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

For optimal recovery of organisms, sufficient specimen should be transported within 24 hours of collection.


Fungi can be pathogens, colonizers, or contaminants. Correlation of the patient clinical condition with culture results is necessary for optimal patient care.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.


If positive, fungus will be identified.

Clinical References Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature

Shea YR: General approaches for detection and identification of fungi. In Manual of Clinical Microbiology. 10th edition. Edited by J Versalovic, KC Carroll, et al: Washington DC, ASM Press, 2011, pp 1776-1792

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