Sputum culture | Diseases and conditions: Medical tests.

What is the sputum culture

Sputum culture is a diagnostic test used in medicine for the study of respiratory tract infections. When there is an infection in the respiratory tree, there are plenty of bacteria that invade the lungs producing more or less defined pneumonia. These bacteria are floating in the mucus and can be found in the sputum.
A small amount of sputum should be collected then cultivate it and analyze it in the microbiology laboratory for cultivation. Cultivation is performed under aseptic conditions, i.e. without other germs from contaminating the sample collected. Studies performed on sputum are mainly:
Gram stain: is to dilute a small amount of sputum and apply a few dyes that are set in the germs that have upon him. The microscope may identify the shape and distribution that embrace the bacteria (e.g. Bacillus chain).
Traditional culture: in the same way that you can isolate microorganisms in the blood by a blood culture, or in the urine by a urine culture, sputum can be isolated in Petri dishes, which have special components that serve as food for the bacteria. Thus, these grow, reproduce, and can be identified.
Antibiogram: in the culture dish are placed antibiotics that broadcasting and eliminate the bacteria more or less effectively. So know what is the most useful antibiotic to cure the infection.

When a sputum culture is made

Sputum culture is a test that is used very often in medicine because it is not great discomfort when performing it; It is cheap, and it can provide much useful information. The information provided helps us to identify the exact type of germ causing the respiratory infection that is being studied.
Situations where a sputum culture is most requested are acute respiratory infections, mainly pneumonia typical or atypical, but also bronchitis and tracheitis. It is not in the upper, as pharyngitis, respiratory tract infections, because in this case often there are more germs and alter the results of the study.
In certain chronic diseases affecting the lung a sputum culture may be performed if the doctor considers it necessary even if there is an established acute infection. Some of these diseases are cystic fibrosis, COPD, bronchiectasis, pulmonary fibrosis, etc.

Preparation for a sputum culture

If you will perform a sputum culture , these are issues that you must take into account:
Duration: lasts a very short time. The sputum specimen collection is done in a simple way, expelling sputum in a boat. You can pick up the sputum of anytime, although it is preferable to pick it up first thing in the morning.
Admission: admission is never needed. It is a test that can be done on an outpatient basis. Sometimes this is done during an income.
Is it necessary to be accompanied?: no.
Drugs: don't need to take any prior medication. You have to tell your doctor all medications you are taking at that time, because some medications can alter the sample collected. It is important that you know the doctor if you have taken any antibiotics previously.
Food: avoid eating or drinking the hour prior to collection of the crop. Before ejecting the sputum rinse your mouth with a little water.
Clothes: you don't need special clothes or to collect the sample or to deliver it.
Documents: it is advisable to carry your health insurance card and the wheel of proof when you go to submit sample, if not they collect it you being entered.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: the test can be taken without modifying any attitude, but it is better that advice the doctor that you are pregnant.
Contraindications: there are no contraindications.

How a sputum culture

Sputum culture He is carried out for the study of respiratory infections. If you have cough, fever and increase in mucus you must see a doctor. When you get to the consultation the doctor will make you some general questions about your state of health (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc). After perform you a physical examination general, insisting on pulmonary auscultation, and assess if it is convenient to make a sputum culture. It will give you a flyer which asks the test, or directly proceed to the collection itself.
Sample must be collected in the clinic or hospital; Thus they ensure that it is well covered. You will need a sterile pot that will give you at the doctor. When you go to collect the specimen it is recommended that you rinses you mouth with water and is better that you've not eaten prior to testing time. You have to try to start mucus from the lungs, and for that they will ask you you to cough forcefully. Avoid blowing, won't get a good sample and only hurt your throat.
It is sometimes very difficult to cough; to facilitate this the doctor may indicate that they apply a few sprays or physiotherapy. Sprays are applied with mask and contain substances that dilate the bronchi, making it easier so that the mucus is released. Respiratory physiotherapy consists of mobilizing mucus making concrete positions and firmly hitting the ribcage.
You have to collect small amounts of sputum, taking care to not touch the edges of the pot. When you are done collecting the sample closes the pot carefully but firmly, to make it airtight. At that time they will take you to the laboratory of Microbiology for study. The results may take several days and will give them to you in the consultation of the doctor; Meanwhile, you will receive a treatment of coverage.

Complications of the sputum culture

There are no complications of the sputum culture.

Results of the sputum culture

The results of the sputum culture may take several days. The physician will receive the report from the laboratory of Microbiology and interpreted the information received. If the doctor thinks that culture information is not important, or that it does not change the treatment or the prognosis of your condition, you can that you do not report the results and you don't worry about it.
The doctor examines these aspects in the result:
Gram stain: stained bacteria that has sputum allowing you to see its shape and its disposal. The bacteria are divided with this staining Gram-positive or gram-negative, depending on the color that wrinkles. It allows a first approach to the very useful microbiological study.
Isolation of bacteria: when the sputum culture is left for several days grow colonies of bacteria that can be isolated and studied individually. Thanks to different tests can identify the genus and species of each bacterium. The bacteria that cause respiratory infections, type pneumonia, most often are the Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Antibiogram: is the result which takes longer because it must be after all the previous results obtained. It consists of applying soaked disks of different antibiotics within the culture plates. If the bacteria die around is that the antibiotic is effective. According to the result the doctor will keep the treatment or changes by one really effective.
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