Unique Skill ID: KS440W26V09CFWX7YGH6

Sputum Cultures

A sputum culture is a test to detect and identify bacteria or fungi that infect the lungs or breathing passages. Sputum is a thick fluid produced in the lungs and in the adjacent airways. Normally, fresh morning sample is preferred for the bacteriological examination of sputum. A sample of sputum is collected in a sterile, wide-mouthed, dry, leak-proof and break-resistant plastic-container and sent to the laboratory for testing. Sampling may be performed by sputum being expectorated, induced, or taken via an endotracheal tube with a protected specimen brush in an intensive care setting. For selected organisms such as Cytomegalovirus or "Pneumocystis jiroveci" in specific clinical settings a bronchoalveolar lavage might be taken by an experienced pneumologist. If no bacteria or fungi grow, the culture is negative. If organisms that can cause the infection grow, the culture is positive. The type of bacterium or fungus is identified by microscopy, colony morphology and biochemical tests of bacterial growth.

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