Previous studies of reference values for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) profiles have been limited by small sample size and few exclusion criteria.


To determine age-specific normative CSF white blood cell count (WBC), glucose, and protein values in infants ≤90 days old.


Performed a retrospective cross-sectional study of infants ≤90 days old who had a diagnostic lumbar puncture between 2008 and 2016. Infants with bacterial meningitis, bacteremia, UTI, positive CSF herpes simplex virus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) result, traumatic lumbar puncture, ventriculoperitoneal shunt, prematurity, recent seizure, previous antibiotic use, and history of a complex chronic condition were excluded for calculations to determine normative values. Data on demographics and CSF values (WBC with differential, protein, glucose, enterovirus PCR) were collected. CSF values were compared by age and by enterovirus PCR results using Kruskal–Wallis and Wilcoxon rank tests.


A total of 1029 out of 2000 patients were included and divided into 3 age groups: 0 to 28 days, 29 to 60 days, 61 to 90 days. CSF WBC values were significantly greater for 0- to 28-day old infants (median: 3, 95th percentile: 14) than for 29- to 60-day and 61- to 90-day old infants (median: 2 and 2; 95th percentile: 7 and 11, respectively) (P < .001). With each month of life, the median CSF protein significantly decreased and glucose significantly increased. In the CSF WBC differential, monocytes were found to be prevalent.


We determined age-specific normative components for CSF profile values for infants 0 to 90 days.

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