Clinics and Departments

Laboratory Services

Lab Dept:


Test Name:


General Information

Lab Order Codes:



Natural Killer Cell Function

CPT Codes:

86849 – Unlisted immunology procedure

Test Includes:

Interpretive report of NK Cell function.


Test Indications:

Individuals with abnormally low NK activity levels are particularly susceptible to viral infections, including cytomegalovirus and varicella. Abnormally low NK activities are reported in AIDS and several other viral infections, solid tissue malignancies, autoimmune diseases, congenital immunodeficiencies, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, protein calorie malnutrition and in post-radiotherapy or chemotherapy of cancer patients. High NK activity concentrations have been observed in post-immunotherapy with biologic response modifiers and in patients with malaria, toxoplasmosis and exanthem subitum.

Lab Testing Sections:

Serology - Sendouts

Referred to:

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Phone Numbers:

MIN Lab: 612-813-6280

STP Lab: 651-220-6550

Test Availability:

Restricted Draw Times: To avoid specimen rejection due to limited specimen stability for NK cell testing, collect sample Monday – Thursday from 1100 – 1530.

Turnaround Time:

3 - 5 days, test set up Monday - Friday.

Special Instructions:

Obtain special collection tube from the laboratory.


Specimen Type:

Whole blood


Sodium Heparin Green top tube - Obtain from the laboratory

Draw Volume:

10 mL (Minimum: 5 mL) blood

Processed Volume:

Same as Draw Volume


Routine venipuncture

Special Processing:

Lab Staff: Do not centrifuge, maintain at room temperature. Ship by overnight priority courier to arrive within 24 hours of draw time. Do Not refrigerate or freeze. Forward promptly.

Call 512-636-4769 prior to shipping with courier tracking #, patient name and test. After hours leave a voicemail message with all shipping information.

Ship to: Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Department of Hematology/Oncology CHRF 1301
3333 Burnet Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45229
Attn: Carol Moore/Terri Ellerhorst

Patient Preparation:


Sample Rejection:

Specimen older than 24 hours, specimen frozen, specimen refrigerated, specimen collected in wrong tube, mislabeled or unlabeled specimens


Reference Range:

≥2.6 LU, Interpretive report

Critical Values:





Chromium Release Assay


Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center July 2013


8/13/2004: Effective 7/13/2004, test was moved from Specialty Laboratories to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Note: Change in reference range. Previously listed as 14-186 LU.
11/4/2010: Adjusted restricted draw time interval.
5/2/2011: New reference range.
3/17/2015: Restricted draw times updated.

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