Test Catalog

Test Id : CHLBF

Cholesterol, Body Fluid

Useful For
Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Aiding in the diagnosis of a cholesterol effusion or cholesterol-rich pseudochylous effusion in body fluids


Distinguishing between chylous and pseudochylous pleural effusions 


Distinguishing between malignant and nonmalignant ascites

Method Name
A short description of the method used to perform the test


NY State Available
Indicates the status of NY State approval and if the test is orderable for NY State clients.


Reporting Name
Lists a shorter or abbreviated version of the Published Name for a test

Cholesterol, BF

Lists additional common names for a test, as an aid in searching

Cholesterol, Body Fluids

Cholesterol, Total, Body Fluids

Pseudochylous effusion

Chylothorax Analysis, Abnormal Body Fluid

Chylothorax Lipid Analysis, Abnormal Body Fluid

Fat, Body Fluids


Specimen Type
Describes the specimen type validated for testing

Body Fluid

Ordering Guidance

This test provides a measurement of cholesterol in body fluids, which is useful for screening of a cholesterol effusion or cholesterol-rich pseudochylous effusion. To distinguish between chylous and nonchylous effusions, order BFLA1 / Lipid Analysis, Body Fluid; which measures cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, as well as chylomicrons and plasma lipoproteins.

Necessary Information

1. Date and time of collection are required.

2. Specimen source is required.


Question ID Description Answers
FLD25 Fluid Type:

Specimen Required
Defines the optimal specimen required to perform the test and the preferred volume to complete testing

Preferred Source:

-Peritoneal fluid (peritoneal, abdominal, ascites, paracentesis)

-Pleural fluid (pleural, chest, thoracentesis)

-Drain fluid (drainage, JP drain)

-Pericardial fluid

Acceptable Source: Write in source name with source location (if appropriate)

Collection Container/Tube: Sterile container

Submission Container/Tube: Plastic vial

Specimen Volume: 1 mL

Collection Instructions:

1. Centrifuge to remove any cellular material and transfer into a plastic vial.

2. Indicate the specimen source and source location on label.

Specimen Minimum Volume
Defines the amount of sample necessary to provide a clinically relevant result as determined by the Testing Laboratory

0.5 mL

Reject Due To
Identifies specimen types and conditions that may cause the specimen to be rejected

Gross hemolysis OK
Gross lipemia OK
Gross icterus Reject
Anticoagulant or additive, amniotic fluid, breast milk, saliva, nasal secretions, sputum, synovial fluid, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) or bronchial washings, colostomy, ostomy, feces, spinal fluid, gastric secretions, urine, vitreous fluid Reject

Specimen Stability Information
Provides a description of the temperatures required to transport a specimen to the performing laboratory, alternate acceptable temperatures are also included

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Body Fluid Frozen (preferred) 30 days
Refrigerated 7 days
Ambient 24 hours

Useful For
Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Aiding in the diagnosis of a cholesterol effusion or cholesterol-rich pseudochylous effusion in body fluids


Distinguishing between chylous and pseudochylous pleural effusions 


Distinguishing between malignant and nonmalignant ascites

Clinical Information
Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Serum cholesterol is measured to determine the concentration of circulating lipoprotein particles when screening for cardiovascular disease. The concentration is affected by genetic and lifestyle factors. Cholesterol concentrations in serous effusions increase due to exudative processes that cause cell lysis or increased vascular permeability. Measurement of cholesterol in body fluids is used for the diagnosis of a cholesterol effusion or cholesterol-rich pseudochylous effusion. Pseudochylous effusions contain low triglycerides and high cholesterol and occur from chronic pleural effusions such as rheumatic pleurisy and tuberculosis. Malignant effusions may become enriched with cholesterol due to increased synthesis and release from neoplastic cells or lymphatic obstruction.(1)


Pleural fluid:

Chylothorax is the name given to pleural effusions containing chylomicrons with accordingly high triglyceride and low cholesterol concentrations, which occurs when chyle accumulates from a disruption of the thoracic duct caused mainly by malignancy or trauma.(2)


Pseudochylous effusions accumulate gradually through the breakdown of cellular lipids in long-standing effusions such as rheumatoid pleuritis, tuberculosis, or myxedema, and by definition the effluent contains high concentrations of cholesterol, while chylous effusions contain high concentrations of triglycerides in the form of chylomicrons.(3)


Differentiation of pseudochylothorax from chylothorax is important as their milky or opalescent appearance is similar; however, therapeutic management strategies differ.


Measurement of pleural fluid cholesterol has also been investigated in multiple studies for the purpose of differentiating exudates from transudates.(4) Most of these studies concluded that cholesterol performs as well as measurement of lactate dehydrogenase and total protein applying Light's criteria, but does not add much value beyond that.


Peritoneal fluid:

Ascites is the pathologic accumulation of excess fluid in the peritoneal cavity. Cholesterol analysis in peritoneal fluid may be a useful index to separate malignant ascites from nonmalignant, often cirrhotic ascites. Studies report concentrations ranging from greater than 32 to 70 mg/dL are greater than 88% sensitive and greater than 80% specific for malignant ascites, outperforming cytology.(4)

Reference Values
Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

An interpretive report will be provided

Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Pleural fluid cholesterol concentrations between 45 to 65 mg/dL are consistent with exudative effusions. Cholesterol concentrations above 200 mg/dL suggest a pseudochylous effusion.(2)


Peritoneal fluid cholesterol concentrations between 32 to 70 mg/dL suggest a malignant cause of ascites.(4)

Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

In very rare cases, gammopathy, in particular type IgM (Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia), may cause unreliable results.


Acetaminophen intoxications are frequently treated with N-acetylcysteine.


N-acetylcysteine, at the therapeutic concentration when used as an antidote, and the acetaminophen metabolite N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI), may independently cause falsely low results.

Clinical Reference
Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Gulyas M, Kaposi AD, Elek G, Szollar LG, Hjerpe A: Value of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and cholesterol assays of ascitic fluid in cases of inconclusive cytology. J Clin Pathol. 2001 Nov;54(11):831-5. doi: 10.1136/jcp.54.11.831

2. Hooper C, Lee YC, Maskell N: BTS Pleural Guideline Group. Investigation of a unilateral pleural effusion in adults: British Thoracic Society Pleural Disease Guideline 2010. Thorax. 2010 Aug;65 Suppl 2:ii4-17. doi: 10.1136/thx.2010.136978

3. Staats BA, Ellefson RD, Budahn LL, et al: The lipoprotein profile of chylous and nonchylous pleural effusions. Mayo Clin Proc. 1980;55(11):700-704

4. Block DR, Algeciras-Schimnich A: Body fluid analysis: clinical utility and applicability of published studies to guide interpretation of today's laboratory testing in serous fluids. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2013;50:107-124. doi: 10.3109/10408363.2013.844679

Method Description
Describes how the test is performed and provides a method-specific reference

Cholesterol is measured by an automated enzymatic method. The reagents include cholesterol ester hydrolase, cholesterol oxidase, and a coupled colorimetric end-point chemistry system.(Package insert: Roche Cholesterol Reagent, c501. Roche Diagnostics Corp; V 13.0, 02/2019)

PDF Report
Indicates whether the report includes an additional document with charts, images or other enriched information


Day(s) Performed
Outlines the days the test is performed. This field reflects the day that the sample must be in the testing laboratory to begin the testing process and includes any specimen preparation and processing time before the test is performed. Some tests are listed as continuously performed, which means that assays are performed multiple times during the day.

Monday through Sunday

Report Available
The interval of time (receipt of sample at Mayo Clinic Laboratories to results available) taking into account standard setup days and weekends. The first day is the time that it typically takes for a result to be available. The last day is the time it might take, accounting for any necessary repeated testing.

Same day/1 to 2 days

Specimen Retention Time
Outlines the length of time after testing that a specimen is kept in the laboratory before it is discarded

7 days

Performing Laboratory Location
Indicates the location of the laboratory that performs the test


Several factors determine the fee charged to perform a test. Contact your U.S. or International Regional Manager for information about establishing a fee schedule or to learn more about resources to optimize test selection.

  • Authorized users can sign in to Test Prices for detailed fee information.
  • Clients without access to Test Prices can contact Customer Service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Prospective clients should contact their Regional Manager. For assistance, contact Customer Service.

Test Classification
Provides information regarding the medical device classification for laboratory test kits and reagents. Tests may be classified as cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and used per manufacturer instructions, or as products that do not undergo full FDA review and approval, and are then labeled as an Analyte Specific Reagent (ASR) product.

This test has been modified from the manufacturer's instructions. Its performance characteristics were determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information
Provides guidance in determining the appropriate Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code(s) information for each test or profile. The listed CPT codes reflect Mayo Clinic Laboratories interpretation of CPT coding requirements. It is the responsibility of each laboratory to determine correct CPT codes to use for billing.

CPT codes are provided by the performing laboratory.

84311-Spectrophotometry, analyte not specified (cholesterol)

LOINC® Information
Provides guidance in determining the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) values for the order and results codes of this test. LOINC values are provided by the performing laboratory.

Test Id Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
CHLBF Cholesterol, BF 12183-0
Result Id Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
Applies only to results expressed in units of measure originally reported by the performing laboratory. These values do not apply to results that are converted to other units of measure.
FLD25 Fluid Type: 14725-6
BFCHL Cholesterol (BF) 12183-0

Test Setup Resources

Setup Files
Test setup information contains test file definition details to support order and result interfacing between Mayo Clinic Laboratories and your Laboratory Information System.

Excel | Pdf

Sample Reports
Normal and Abnormal sample reports are provided as references for report appearance.

Normal Reports | Abnormal Reports

SI Sample Reports
International System (SI) of Unit reports are provided for a limited number of tests. These reports are intended for international account use and are only available through MayoLINK accounts that have been defined to receive them.

SI Normal Reports | SI Abnormal Reports