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Test ID LBC Lamellar Body Count, Amniotic Fluid

Reporting Name

Lamellar Body Count, AF

Useful For

Predicting fetal lung maturity and assessing the risk of developing neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, when performed from 32 to 39 weeks gestation

Specimen Type

Amniotic Fld

Specimen Required

Container/Tube: Amniotic fluid container or plastic vial

Specimen Volume: 2 mL

Collection Instructions:

1. Do not centrifuge

2. Amniotic specimens must be free of blood and meconium contamination.

Specimen Minimum Volume

0.75 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Amniotic Fld Refrigerated (preferred) 28 days
  Ambient  7 days

Reference Values

Immature: <15,000/mcL

Indeterminate: 15,000-50,000/mcL

Mature: >50,000/mcL


Cutoffs are based on consensus protocol (Neerhof M, Dohnal JC, Ashwood ER, et al: Lamellar body counts: a consensus on protocol. Obstet Gynecol. 2001;97:318-320)

Day(s) Performed

Monday through Sunday

Test Classification

This test was developed, and its performance characteristics 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


LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
LBC Lamellar Body Count, AF 19114-8


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
LBCC Lamellar Body Count 19114-8
LBCI Interpretation 59462-2

Clinical Information

Fetal lung maturity testing is used to determine the risk for developing respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) in infants born prematurely (32-39 weeks). The risk for developing RDS is inversely related to gestational age and is the most common cause of respiratory failure in neonates. RDS is associated with preterm birth due to insufficient production of pulmonary surfactant. Pulmonary surfactant is synthesized by type II pneumocytes. Surfactant consists of 90% phospholipids (primarily phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylglycerol) and 10% proteins (surfactant proteins [SP]-A, SP-B, SP-C). Surfactant is packaged into lamellar bodies and is excreted into the alveolar space where it unravels and forms a monolayer on alveolar surfaces. Lamellar bodies can also pass into the amniotic cavity and, hence, are found in amniotic fluid. The surfactant functions to reduce the surface tension in the alveoli, preventing atelectasis. When surfactant is deficient, the small alveoli collapse and the large alveoli become overinflated and stiff, which has been associated with increased risk of developing respiratory distress. The status of fetal lung maturity is reflected in the concentration of surfactant in the form of phospholipids and lamellar bodies present in amniotic fluid. Lamellar bodies are similar in size to platelets and can be quantified on a hematology analyzer utilizing the platelet channel and used to estimate fetal lung maturity.


Amniotic fluid lamellar body counts (LBC) above 50,000/mcL are predictive of fetal lung maturity.


Amniotic fluid LBC below 15,000/mcL are suggestive of fetal lung immaturity and increased risk of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (RDS).


The main value of fetal lung maturity testing is predicting the absence of RDS. An immature test result for fetal lung maturity is less reliable in predicting the presence of RDS.(1)

Clinical Reference

1. Fetal Lung Maturity: ACOG Practice bulletin. Obstet Gynecol. 2008;112(3):717-726

2. Eby C, Lu J, Gronowski AM: Lamellar body counts performed on automated hematology analyzers to assess fetal lung maturity. Lab Med. 2008;39(7):15

3. Haymond S, Luzzi V, Parvin C, Gronowski A: A direct comparison between lamellar body counts and fluorescent polarization methods for predicting respiratory distress syndrome. Am J Clin Pathol. 2006;126:894-899

4. Szallasi A, Gronowski A, Eby C: Lamellar body count in amniotic fluid: a comparative study of four different hematology analyzers. Clin Chem. 2003;49(6):994-997

5. Grenache DG, Gronowski AM: Fetal lung maturity. Clin Biochem. 2006;39:1-10

6. Neerhof M, Dohnal JC, Ashwood ER, et al: Lamellar body counts: a consensus on protocol. Obstet Gynecol. 2001;97:318-320

7. Kamath-Rayne BD, Jobe AH: Fetal lung development and surfactant. In: Resnik R ed. Creasy and Resnik's Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Elsevier; 2019:223-234

Method Name


Report Available

Same day/1 day