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Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL) Test Directory

Bacterial Culture, aerobic culture only - Sputum

Source Sputum
Mnemonic M SPUTUM
Specimen Requirements

Submit sputum in sterile container.

An early morning deep coughed specimen is preferred.
Patient should not gargle with mouthwash or brush teeth prior to collection of specimen.

Refer to Sputum Collection Procedure - Patient Instructions MI6001

Specimen Handling

Store specimen at room temperature for up to 2 hours or at 4°C, if a delay in transport.

Sputum specimens from Intensive Care Units (ICU), Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) or Special Care Nurseries (SCN), and Cystic Fibrosis sputum specimens are transported as STAT.  Specimens MUST be received in Microbiology at the Diagnostic and Scientific Centre (DSC) within 2 hours of receipt in hospital laboratory.


Additional Information

If patient is at risk for dimorphic/endemic fungi or invasive mould infections, collect a specimen for Fungal culture.

Contamination with saliva yields inconclusive results.

Only one sputum per 24 hour period will be cultured.
When more than one sputum specimen is received on the same day, the first sputum collected is cultured.

Turnaround time for negative culture: 2 days.

Testing Location DSC Microbiology
Testing Frequency Daily
Alternate Name(s)  

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