UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Neurology

Title: Xanthochromia in CSF

Keywords: xanthochromia, csf, lumbar puncture, meningitis, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracranial bleed (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/2/2009 by Aisha Liferidge, MD (Updated: 10/21/2021)
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  • Xanthochromia is the yellowish discoloration of the supernatant from centrifuged cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
  • Xanthochromia is an abnormal finding and results from the lysis of red blood cells.
  • Xanthochromia is present is CSF in > 90% of patients within 12 hours of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) onset.