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Blood Culture Collection

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Check the expiry date on both bottles. Discard any bottle that is within 14 days of expiry.

1. Patient ID stickers should be attached to blood cultue vials, taking care, however, not to obscure the unique vial barcode.

2. Blood cultures should be taken when clinically indicated and not left for the phlebotomists.

If possible take cultures before starting antibiotics.

Culture the blood once or twice during each clinical episode (three times for endocarditis).

3. Up to 20 mL of blood can be cultured per two-bottle set: DO NOT INOCULATE MORE THAN ONE SET AT A TIME.

Bottle Requirements

1          Standard set with antibiotic removal devices

Blue cap                                Aerobic

Gold cap                               Anaerobic

Ideally 8-10ml per bottle, but not less than 5ml and no more than 10ml per bottle.

2.          Paediatric bottle single aerobic bottle for low-volume culture, i.e. not more than 5ml Pink cap ideally 1 – 3 mL

Taking the blood

3. Use a 20 mL syringe and needle, not the "monovette" system.

Do not culture blood from lines, except when diagnosing line infection. In such cases peripheral venous blood should also be cultured.

4. Thoroughly disinfect the skin at the site of venepuncture with alcohol and preferably iodine.

If palpation of the vein is essential then also disinfect the probing finger or glove.

Bottle inoculation

5. Remove the "flip tops" of both bottles

6. Check that the broth is not cloudy, and that the rubber septum is not bulging.

7. Wet the bung with alcohol and allow to dry.

8. Inject 8 to 10 mL of blood into each bottle through the bung.

Do not allow the bottle to suck in more than this.

Inoculate the anaerobic bottle first to prevent any air getting in.

9. Write the patient's name or place an ID sticker on the bottles, taking care not to obscure the vial identification barcode, and send them to the laboratory with a request card. These bottles should be sent in the pneumatic tube system using all the packaging supplied with the bottles.

The bottles must remain at room temperature prior to transport to the laboratory.

Do not refrigerate the vials, or warm them on radiators etc.


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