Within what time frame should synovial fluid analysis occur?
Synovial fluid should be analyzed as soon as possible after the fluid is drawn. If it is delayed for >6 hours, results may be spuriously altered. Problems that can arise include:
• Decrease in leukocyte count (due to cell disruption).
• Decrease in number of crystals (primarily calcium pyrophosphate dehydrate [CPPD]).
• Appearance of artifactual crystals.