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Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
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Test
Sputum/ Respiratory Culture
CategoryMicrobiology
Code
SPC
Test information
For culture of all respiratory specimens
Pre-analytical
BAL/bronchial washings: Minimum sample size is preferably 5 ml. Contamination of bronchoscope with tap water which may contain environmental Mycobacterium species should be avoided.  Sputum: Should be relatively fresh (less than 1 day old) to minimise contamination. Purulent specimens are best. 
Sputum: Should be relatively fresh (less than 1 day old) to minimise contamination. Purulent specimens are best. Minimum volume ideally 5 ml per sample collected early in the morning on 3 consecutive days, but will accept anything >1 ml. 
NOTE: The material required is from the lower respiratory tract expectorated by deep coughing. When the cough is dry, physiotherapy, postural drainage or inhalation of an aerosol before expectoration may be helpful. 
Any materials used in taking these samples must be discarded in an approved clinical waste and/or sharps container. 
If there is a delay in transporting the specimen to the laboratory, please refrigerate,
Special requirements
These are classed as High risk specimens 
Sputum, Bronchoalveolar lavage/brushings or washings,  Pleural fluid,  Transtracheal aspirate, Transthoracic aspirates. Suction traps should not be sent with the tube attachment. The tube must be replaced with the replacement lid provided in the collection kit. If caps are not available, the tubes should be sealed to ensure that they are leak proof.
Tube type
Sterile 60ml container (white top) or sterile 30ml universal container
Universal container - white top
Minimum volume
5ml
TAT Inpatient (urgent)
2 - 5 days
TAT GP/Outpatient
2 - 5 days
Referral lab
Local
Page last updated: 08 September 2021