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Pleural Fluid pH Testing
Updated Location and Test Code
The Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine will now offer pleural fluid pH testing in the main central laboratory, which is an FDA-approved application. Central laboratory testing for pleural fluid pH (New Test Code: PHPFL) will replace the current point-of-care test performed by the iSTAT for inpatients, which is an off-label application. Testing of pleural fluid pH by the iSTAT (PFPH) will be discontinued. For testing of pleural fluid pH, specimens should be sent immediately to the UCI Medical Center central laboratory for STAT testing.

Effective date: Oct. 2, 2019

Specimen requirement and testing information:
Specimen: Pleural fluid in 1.0 mL, 3.0 mL or 5.0 mL syringe. Collect specimen into clean container or syringe. If collected in a clean container, immediately transfer to an air-tight syringe. Expel any air bubbles quickly, and cap. Immediately send the specimen to the lab, and place the specimen on ice or in ice-water slurry if any delay is anticipated.

Test methodology: Electrochemical sensor technology

Test code: PHPFL

Ambient: 30 minutes
Refrigerated (on ice): 2 hours - delayed analysis may result in falsely elevated pH
Frozen: Unacceptable

Turnaround time (TAT):
STAT: 1 hour
Routine: Not available
Set Up Days: Daily

Rejection criteria:
Specimens that exceed stated stability, unlabeled/mislabeled/mismatched specimens, specimens submitted in leaking containers, specimens received with clots or air bubbles present, specimens with needles attached, clotted or insufficient amount for testing.

A summary of all tests offered by our laboratory services can be found here:


Bridgit O. Crews, PhD, DABCC
Clinical Chemistry & Toxicology

Edwin S. Monuki, MD, PhD
Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
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