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Sputum Culture

A sputum culture is a sample of the gooey substance that often comes up from your chest when you have an infection in your lungs or airways. It is mostly made up of white blood cells that fight infection mixed with germs.

Routine sputum culture is a laboratory test that looks for germs that cause infection. Sputum is the material that comes up from air passages when you cough deeply.

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Stability Room2 Hrs
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Sputum Culture

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Why to Get Tested:

To help diagnose tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by other Mycobacterium species, which are known as acid-fast bacilli (AFB), in people at risk of developing mycobacterial infections; to monitor the effectiveness of treatment

When to get Tested:

  • When you have signs and symptoms of a lung infection, such as a chronic cough, weight loss, fever, chills, and weakness, that may be due to TB or a nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infection
  • When you have a positive IGRA blood test or Tuberculin skin test (TST) and you are in a high-risk group for progressing to active TB
  • When you have a skin or other body site infection that may be due to mycobacteria; when you are undergoing treatment for TB

Purpose Of The Test (Indications)

  1. This is a special stain for the diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in various specimens like sputum, caseous material, and tissue.
  2. The AFB smear stain used to monitor the treatment of Tuberculosis.
  3. The AFB stain on sputum is indicated in a patient with:
    1. A cough.
    2. Night sweating.
    3. Anorexia.
    4. Fever.
    5. Hemoptysis.
    6. Unexplained weight loss.
    7. Fatigue and weakness.
    8. Chest pain.
  4. Advise AFB stain in high-risk patients like immunocompromised patients, alcoholics, or have recent exposure to TB patients.

Sample Required:

Patient Preparation: Have patient rinse his/her mouth with water immediately prior to specimen collection. This reduces the number of contaminating oropharyngeal bacteria.

Specimen Type: Respiratory

Sources: Sputum, bronchoalveolar lavage, trachea, endotracheal tube, etc.

Container/Tube: Sterile container

Specimen Volume: Entire specimen

Collection Instructions: An early-morning expectorated sputum is preferred.

Specimen Volume: Minimum 2 ml

What Abnormal Results Mean

If the sputum sample is abnormal, the results are called “positive.” Identifying the bacteria, fungus, or virus may help diagnose the cause of:

  • Bronchitis (swelling and inflammation in the main passages that carry air to the lungs)
  • Lung abscess (collection of pus in the lung)
  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis
  • Flare up of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or cystic fibrosis
  • Sarcoidosis

Keywords: Sputum culture, sputum culture (lab test), sputum culture, cultures sputum, culture sputum, Sputum culture (procedure), Sputum Culture, Microbial culture of sputum, Microbial culture of sputum (procedure)

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