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Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
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Test
Blood Culture
CategoryMicrobiology
Code
BC
Test information
CORRECT SPECIMEN TYPE & METHOD OF COLLECTION 
If blood for other tests such as blood gases or ESR is to be taken at the same 
venepuncture, the blood culture bottles should be inoculated first to avoid 
contamination. It is however preferable to take blood for culture separately. 
Disinfect the skin at the venepuncture site with isopropyl alcohol and allow to dry for at 
least 30 seconds. Disinfect the septum of the blood culture bottle with isopropyl alcohol 
and allow to dry. 
Withdraw blood from a peripheral vein and divide the sample equally among 
blood culture bottles, filling the anaerobic bottle first. Samples should not be 
taken through an intravenous catheter or other access device unless no other 
access is available. When line associated infection is suspected, cultures 
should be taken from both catheter lumen(s) and peripheral vein. 
Any materials used in taking these samples must be discarded in an approved clinical waste or sharps container. 
 
Please note that from the 10th of October 2018, Microbiology will be using a new analyser to process all blood cultures. Please use the small PAS non-barcoded Patient ID labels, and place on all bottles submitted. Alternatively the analyser will accept hand written patient’s details in the space provided on the bottle. This also applies to paediatric blood cultures. 
Under no circumstances remove the Bottle barcode label as the instrument requires this to identify the sample under processing. 
If these instructions are not followed, then delays may occur to the sample being loaded and processed. 
Thank you for your co-operation 
Pre-analytical
Do NOT remove  barcodes from bottles or obscure with patient label - these are required for the automated analyser.  Blood cultures should be transported to the laboratory for incubation immediately. Where there is a delay in transport to the laboratory and/or loading onto the automated 
system, blood cultures should be stored at room Temperature (21-250C) and must not be refrigerated by porters or ward staff. The incubator in the corridor next to Specimen 
reception is switched off and so operates at room temperature. 
 
Please note that we now use plastic bottles and these specimens can be sent via the air pod. Treat these specimens as urgent sample and send as soon as possible.
Special requirements
Whole blood
Tube type
Standard blood culture set (1 purple anaerobic bottle and 1 blue aerobic bottle)
Standard blood culture set (adult)
Minimum volume
Up to but no more than 10ml per bottle
TAT Inpatient (urgent)
2 day negative. Positive cultures as flagged. All positives telephoned. Most patients will be reviewed by a microbiologist on the day the blood culture becomes positive.
TAT GP/Outpatient
2 day negative. Positive cultures as flagged. All positives telephoned. Most patients will be reviewed by a microbiologist on the day the blood culture becomes positive.
Referral lab
Local
Page last updated: 11 January 2022