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Sputum for Cytology

Sputum is a fluid from the lungs that often contains pus and could be of a thick consistency.
Patient Instructions


  • Collect 3 deeply coughed sputum specimens: on 3 separate days (not necessarily consecutive days preferably early in the morning before eating or drinking into the sterile, yellow-top containers).
  • A deeply coughed sputum sample must be obtained. Saliva only is not acceptable. Saliva is a clear fluid from the mouth.
  • Screw the lid firmly onto the container to avoid spillage.
  • Write your surname, first given name, date of birth and the date/time of collection on the container label.
  • Each sputum specimen must be delivered as soon as possible on each day of collection.
  • The collection staff are required to check your details (surname, first given name, date of birth and date and time of collection on the container label) against the pathology request form
    to ensure the sample is matched to the doctor’s request.
    This is done to ensure the safety and security of reporting your test results.


  • 3x Sterile Yellow-top Containers


For more information:

If you have any questions or would like to know the location of your nearest Australian Clinical Laboratories Collection Centre, please call 1300 453 688.

Visit for an easy search by postcode to find your nearest collection centre.

Collection Guide

To download the collection guide for this test please click here.