Routine sputum cultureDefinition:
Routine sputum culture is a laboratory test that looks for organisms that cause infection. Sputum is the material that comes up from air passages when you cough deeply
How the Test is Performed:
A sputum sample is needed. You will be asked to cough deeply and spit any material that comes up from your lungs into a special container. The sample is sent to a lab. There, it is placed in a special dish (culture). It is then watched to see if bacteria or other disease-causing organisms grow.
How to Prepare for the Test:
Drinking a lot of water and other fluids the night before the test may make it easier to cough up the sputum.
How the Test will Feel:
You will need to cough. Sometimes the health care provider will tap on your chest to loosen deep sputum. Or, you may be asked to inhale a steamlike mist to help you cough up the sputum. You may have some discomfort from having to cough deeply.
Why the Test is Performed:
The test helps identify the bacteria or other type of germs that are causing an infection in the lungs or airways (bronchi).
In a normal sputum sample there will be no disease-causing organisms.
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:
There are no risks with this test.
Croft AC, Woods GL. Specimen collection and handling for diagnosis of infectious diseases. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 63.
Limper AH. Overview of pneumonia. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia,Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 97.