Amino Acid Quantitation (CSF)

Also known as: AACSF, CSF amino acids, amino acids quantitative, cerebral spinal fluid, cerebral spinal fluid amino acid test

What is amino acid quantitation?

Patients born with inborn errors of amino acid metabolism may have a variety of different medical conditions related to metabolism. These diseases typically become evident in infancy or early childhood. An amino acid quantitation test of cerebral spinal fluid is useful in diagnosing these disorders.

Amino acids are the building blocks of the proteins found in blood. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the fluid produced from blood plasma which surrounds the brain and spinal cord, and normally, (depending on the age of an infant/child), variable amounts of amino acids are found in the CSF. A CSF amino acid test examines the amounts and types of amino acids found in the CSF and can be useful in diagnosing different disorders/diseases involving the brain and spinal cord.

What happens during the procedure?

Your baby/child will be placed in a position that allows for a small thin needle to be inserted into his/her back (called a lumbar puncture, LP. or spinal tap). A local anesthetic medication may be injected into the skin prior to the procedure being undertaken. The needle is then inserted into the CSF surrounding the spinal cord and a small sample of cerebrospinal fluid is withdrawn and sent to a laboratory for analysis and testing.

Is any special preparation needed?

No special preparation is needed for the test.

What are the risk factors?

A lumbar puncture is considered a safe procedure where the small risks associated with it are far outweighed by the benefits received. Occasionally a child may complain of a headache afterwards which on lying flat and drinking plenty of fluids will resolve on its own. Rarely bleeding or infection may occur.


Reviewed by: Paul Cardenas, MD

This page was last updated on: March 06, 2020 02:09 PM

Learn more about

Inborn Errors of Metabolism

When a baby has trouble digesting certain foods and turning them into energy, it could be due to inborn errors of metabolism. Learn more

Pseudotumor Cerebri

Pseudotumor cerebri is a condition characterized by headaches and visual disturbances without an underlying brain tumor. Learn more