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Culture PUS

Also known as: Blood Culture (bacterial, fungal, and/or AFB)
The test is ordered by your doctor to detect the presence of systemic infection or to check for bacteria and yeast in the blood.
The test is ordered by the doctor when he or she feels the patient is exhibiting signs and symptoms related to sepsis-like rapid breathing, fatigue, chills, fever, or an elevated white blood cell count.
This is a blood test that requires two or more blood samples. These are drawn using a syringe from separate venipuncture sites – most commonly from veins in the arms.
There is no special preparation needed for the test.
Blood cultures are used to identify infections in the blood and weed out the cause. Infections in the bloodstream are often caused by bacteria but may also occur because of the presence of fungi, viruses, or yeast, Blood infections originate from a specific site in the body and spread on from there when it develops and cannot be confined by the immune system to the source. For example, in some cases, the urinary tract infection spreads from the bladder or kidneys into the blood, which is then carried out through the body, in some cases causing a severe systemic infection. People that have weaker immune systems due to underlying conditions or immune-suppressive drugs tend to be at greater risk as their immune system is less capable of killing the microbes which infect the blood. In blood cultures, multiple samples are collected from various sites to increase the chances of identifying the bacteria or fungi on the body. This also makes sure that any bacteria detected is the one that is causing the infection instead of other contaminants.
The test is used to detect the presence of bacteria or fungi in the blood, to identify the type present, and to guide the treatment of the blood infection identified in the results. Blood cultures can not grow viruses; thus, they can not identify whether someone has a virus in their blood. In order to address this, other tests may also be performed, such as
  1. Gram stain – which is used to detect and identify the type of bacteria present in other body sites like urine or sputum
  2. Susceptibility tests determine which drug will be ideal for treating the infection
Your doctor may order the blood culture test when he or she notices that a patient has signs and symptoms of sepsis, a condition in which bacteria, fungi, or toxic by-products are causing harm to the body. A person who has sepsis may have the following symptoms:
  1. Chills, fever
  2. Nausea
  3. Rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat
  4. Confusion
  5. Less frequent urination
With the progression of the infection, more severe symptoms may develop, for example:
  1. Inflammation throughout the body
  2. The formation of many tiny blood clots in the smallest blood vessels
  3. A dangerous drop in blood pressure
  4. The failure of one or more organs
An individual who has had a recent infection, or undergone a recent surgical procedure, prosthetic heart valve replacement, or immunosuppressive therapy, tends to be at a higher risk of a systemic infection. Therefore drawing blood cultures would be appropriate in such a situation and also when an infection of the blood is suspected. In addition, blood cultures are drawn at frequent intervals in newborns and young children who may have an infection but may not have the typical signs and symptoms of sepsis detailed above.
The results of the blood culture are interpreted in various ways. If the result indicates that two or more blood cultures are positive for the same bacteria or fungi, it means that the patient most likely has a blood infection with the microbe in question. Generally, the test results also list the specific bacteria or fungi which is the root cause of the infection. Blood infections are severe and must be attended to immediately, usually in a hospital. The infection sepsis is a complication that can be life-threatening, particularly in people that have weaker immune systems.
Doctors who suspect that their patient may have sepsis may begin patients on intravenous broad-spectrum antibiotics that are effective against a wide range of bacteria while waiting for the blood culture or susceptibility testing results. As soon as the results are available, the treatment is changed accordingly to an antimicrobial agent, which is more specific for the bacteria or fungi which has been identified in the blood cultures, In the event that one blood culture set is positive and one set is negative, the results suggest that an infection or skin contaminant is present.
The doctor then makes a decision in light of the patient's clinical status and the type of bacteria or fungi found before making a diagnosis. In this case, additional testing is also warranted. If the test results indicate that the blood culture sets are negative after several days, this means that the likelihood of a person having a blood infection caused by bacteria or fungi is low. Sometimes the test is negative, yet symptoms like a fever persist. However, if the symptoms do not fade, follow-up testing may be required. A few reasons that symptoms may not resolve even though blood culture results are negative can be:
  1. Some types of microbes tend to be challenging to grow in culture. In this case, the laboratorian adds blood cultures in order to try to grow and identify the pathogen.
  2. Some viruses cannot be detected using blood culture bottles designed to grow bacteria. However, if the doctor suspects that a viral infection is causing the patient's symptoms, then he or she may order other laboratory tests to be performed. The tests that they order are contingent on the patient's clinical signs and the type of virus the doctor suspects is causing the infection.
Results from other tests which have been done in order to supplement blood cultures can be positive for sepsis even though blood cultures may be negative. Examples of these are:
  1. Complete blood count (CBC). An increased white blood cell (WBC) count (or in some cases a decreased WBC count) may indicate infection.
  2. Complement Levels of C3 may be increased.
  3. A urine or sputum culture may be positive, suggesting that a possible source of infection may have spread to the blood.
  4. CSF analysis may identify a possible source of infection.
Related Tests: 'Complete Blood Count (CBC blood test), Urine Culture, Bacterial Wound Culture, Gram Stain, Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Testing, Fungal Tests, Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing
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