Cerebrospinal fluid

J Emerg Med. 2001 Aug;21(2):171-8. doi: 10.1016/s0736-4679(01)00360-2.


A quick and accurate diagnosis of maladies affecting the central nervous system (CNS) is imperative. Procurement and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) are paramount in helping the clinician determine a patient's clinical condition. Various staining methods, measurement of white blood cell counts, glucose and protein levels, recognition of xanthochromia, and microbiologic studies are CSF parameters that are collectively important in the ultimate determination by a clinician of the presence or absence of a catastrophic CNS condition. Many of these CNS parameters have significant limitations that should be recognized to minimize under treating patients with catastrophic illness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / physiology*
  • Emergency Medicine*
  • Glucose / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Humans
  • Laboratories, Hospital* / economics
  • Laboratories, Hospital* / organization & administration
  • Mycoses / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors


  • Glucose