Imperial Collage Healthcare

Diagnostic cytology

Clinical Indications
Diagnostic cytology can be used as a relatively non-invasive method for investigating disease processes.

Sample Required
Diagnostic cytology can be performed on any fluid that can be extracted from the patient (except blood). Fine needle aspirations can be taken from any solid organ, as long as this is deemed appropriate within the clinical picture.

Turnaround Time

80% reported within 7 calendar days and 90% within 10 calendar days. If the sample is particularly complex to interpret, or it is pending correlation with a sample for histopathology, this may not always be achievable.

At times, it may be necessary to refer work to other laboratories or consultants. This requirement is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Referral centres are selected based on the EQA schemes in which they participate, any reported EQA exceptions, average turnaround times and accreditation status. There are occasions where a centre without accreditation status is used; this is because it is a national referral centre and, on this basis, is deemed expert in this field. When cases require a specialist second opinion, they are referred by our pathologist to another pathologist, in line with the West London Cancer Network guidelines.