L. Antonangelo, F. S. Vargas, M. M. P. Acencio, A. P. Corá, L. R. Teixeira, E. H. Genofre and R. K. B. Sales
Effect of temperature and storage time on cellular analysis of fresh pleural fluid samples
Objective: Despite the methodological variability in preparation techniques for pleural fluid cytology, it is fundamental that the cells should be preserved, permitting adequate morphological classification. We evaluated numerical and morphological changes in pleural fluid specimens processed after storage at room temperature or under refrigeration.
Methods: Aliquots of pleural fluid from 30 patients, collected in ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid-coated tubes and maintained at room temperature (21 °C) or refrigeration (4 °C) were evaluated after 2 and 6 hours and 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 14 days. Evaluation of cytomorphology and global and percentage counts of leucocytes, macrophages and mesothelial cells were included.
Results: The samples had quantitative cellular variations from day 3 or 4 onwards, depending on the storage conditions. Morphological alterations occurred earlier in samples maintained at room temperature (day 2) than in those under refrigeration (day 4).
Conclusions: This study confirms that storage time and temperature are potential pre-analytical causes of error in pleural fluid cytology.