Clinics and Departments

Laboratory Services

Lab Dept:


Test Name:


General Information

Lab Order Codes:



Smear for Fecal Leukocytes; Stool WBC”s; Stool PMN’s; Fecal Leukocyte Smear

CPT Codes:

87205 – Smear, primary source with interpretation; Gram or Giemsa stain for bacteria, fungi or cell types

Test Includes:

Smear and quantitation of leukocytes in stool.


Test Indications:

Useful for conditions associated with increased fecal leukocytes including antibiotic-associated colitis, ulcerative colitis, shigellosis, salmonellosis, Campylobacter, Yersinia and amoebiasis

Lab Testing Sections:


Phone Numbers:

MIN Lab: 612-813-5866

STP Lab: 651-220-6555

Test Availability:

Daily, 24 hours

Turnaround Time:

24 hours

Special Instructions:

Requisition must state specific date/time of collection.


Specimen Type:

Fresh diarrheal stool, especially with blood or mucus


Plastic, leakproof container

Draw Volume:

1 gram stool


1. Collect fresh, diarrheal stool in a clean, dry bedpan or on a newspaper over the toilet and transfer to a plastic, leakproof container.
Those portions of stool containing blood and mucous are especially significant and should be transferred into the container.
Pediatric patients with severe diarrhea may use a U-bag collection system. Place the bag over the anal area in an attempt to retrieve the specimen before it soaks into the diaper. The diaper can also be reversed with the plastic side toward the skin to prevent the specimen from soaking into the diaper. Transfer specimen into a plastic, leakproof container.

Offsite collections:
Call a stat courier, send at room temperature. Specimens must be processed within 2 hours.
● Do not refrigerate
Alternate specimen processing for routine specimen transport
Stool specimen smeared on a glass slide (label with pt name and DOB)
a. Select purulent or blood-tinged portions by using a loop or pipette. For extremely thick specimens, use care to make the prep thin (read print through the prep) so the specimen does not wash off during the staining process.
b. Spread specimen on slide to form a thin film.


Specimen must arrive in laboratory within 1 hour of collection. Do not send specimen through the pneumatic tube system.

Sample Rejection:

No diapers accepted. Improperly labeled specimen; specimen contaminated with urine and/or water; leaking container; insufficient volume; specimen containing interfering substances such as castor oil, bismuth, Metamucil®, barium, Vaseline®, or other cream contaminants. If an unacceptable specimen is received, the physician or nursing station will be notified and another specimen will be requested before the specimen is discarded.


Reference Range:

Occasional PMN’s present


False-negative results may occur if patient is on antibiotics.


Gram stain


Cook, JH, and M Pezzlo (1992). Specimen receipt and accessioning. Section 1. Aerobic bacteriology, 1.2.1-4. In HD Isenberg (ed) Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook. American Society for Microbiology, Washington DC

Miller, J Michael (1999) A Guide To Specimen Management in Clinical Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology, Washington DC

Miller, J Michael, and HT Holmes (1999) Specimen Collection, Transport, and Storage In PR Murray et al, (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 7th edition, American Society for Microbiology, Washington DC, pp 33-104


1/6/2014: Turnaround time previously listed as 4 hours.
7/9/2014: Offsite collection info updated.

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