Blood Cultures
(Microbiology)

Adult

Routine set

Paediatric

Paediatric bottle

Investigation: Culture and sensitivity

Inform lab before sending: No

Specimen type: Blood

Ideal time to take specimen: Time of spiking temperatures if applicable

Specimen container: Blood culture sets usually comprise 2 bottles,one aerobic (FA - green cap) and one anaerobic (FN orange cap)
(PLEASE NOTE: The bottle colours have recently changed - this set is applicable to all patients)
Paediatric patients - use a single bottle ( PF - with yellow cap)

How to take specimen: Ensure that the rubber caps have been wiped with alcohol in advance of the blood being taken and allow alcohol to evaporate to dryness prior to inoculation. Using ANTT and the Vacuette collection system to obtain 20 ml of blood and inoculate 10ml into each bottle, the aerobic bottle (green cap) should be inoculated first.

Volume: 10ml whole blood into each bottle - 0.5 to 4.0ml for paediatric bottles

Labelling: Blood culture bottles must have:

  • Unit number/A+E number or date of birth
  • Full name (forename and surname)
  • Specimen type and line site (if applicable)
  • Date of collection

Request form must have:

  • Unit number/A+E number or date of birth
  • Full name (forename and surname)
  • Date of Birth
  • Location
  • Specimen type and line site (if applicable).
  • Date of collection
  • Clinical information

PLEASE:
  • DO NOT REMOVE BARCODES FROM BOTTLES THEY ARE FOR LABORATORY USE ONLY
  • DO NOT STICK ADDRESSOGRAPHS OVER BARCODES

Transport to the laboratory:
Blood cultures can be sent directly to the laboratory via porter or using the POD system (710), Blood cultures taken out of hours can be sent via the POD or placed in a 37C incubator pending transport to the laboratory.

Do not place in refrigerators.

Turnround:
All significant positive samples are notified immediately to the doctor on the ward, between normal working hours 08:00 - 20:00.
There is no need to call the laboratory to track the progress of blood cultures although medical staff will be happy to discuss antibiotic therapy for any patient.
A negative report will be sent out after 72 hrs, but the bottles will be normally incubated up to 5 days.

Additional information:
Because of the large volumes of blood inoculated, a single set of blood cultures should suffice for investigation of most patients.
Patients with life-threatening infections or who are suspected of having infective endocarditis may benefit from having two or more sets of cultures taken by separate venepunctures.
If a patient has a long line in situ (CVP, Hickman etc), an additional set of bottles should be inoculated with blood taken through EACH lumen (indicating that this is the case on the request form).
The volume of blood inoculated from the line should be approximately equal to that inoculated from the periphery.
Back
Home