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A 76-year-old male asked:

what exactly is a csf culture & what is its purpose? is it difficult to perform and does it take longer than blood cultures for a result to come back?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Deborah Josefson
Internal Medicine 28 years experience
Spinal tap: CSF is cerebrospinal fluid which is obtained through a lumbar puncture or spinal tap. It would be sent for culture to check for bacterial vs. viral or aseptic meningitis. Depending on the organism being cultured for it can take a few days to weeks for a result
Dr. Soroosh Armandi
Anti-Aging Medicine 16 years experience
I 100 percent agree!
Aug 23, 2016
Dr. Soroosh Armandi
Anti-Aging Medicine 16 years experience
The only thing I would add is that a fungal culture can also be added.
Aug 23, 2016
Dr. Marc Serota
Dermatology 14 years experience
Similar to blood: A CSF culture is when you take a sample of CSF (usually from a lumbar puncture which samples the CSF from the spinal canal in the lower back - so yes a bit more difficult to perform but still pretty routine) and culture it to see if there are bacteria (or sometimes viruses) growing in it, usually to look for meningitis. It takes the same amount of time as a blood culture (48 hours).

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Last updated Aug 23, 2016

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