Containers - Adult
Blood Culture Set - Adult
Up to 10ml (8-10 ml is optimal). Do not overfill.
Containers - Child
Paediatric Blood Culture Bottle
Up to 4 ml. Do not overfill.
Old Dalkeith Road
Transport as soon as is practical. Best organism recovery is when collection of blood cultures to incubation is less than 4 hours. Can go in pneumatic tube system. (NB Mycobacterial Blood Cultures - in glass bottles cannot go in the pneumatic tube system)
Sample storage arrangements
Samples need to reach the lab incubators within four hours of being collected to be most useful. If there's a delay in transporting to the lab at RIE, store at room temperature. If out of hours at SJH ( 0900-1700 Mon to Fri, 0900-1600 Sat/Sun) store in the 37°C out of hours incubator. Don't refrigerate samples.
Special instructions for collection
Venous blood, arterial blood and sterile fluids can all be inoculated. Don't take off barcode stickers from the bottles.
Fill bottles optimally with 10mls of blood in each; overfilling bottles can lead to false positive results. Underfilling bottles reduces the chance of recovering bacteria, and false negatives. There is a direct relationship between blood volume and bacteria recovered, with approximately a 3% increase in yield per mL of blood cultured. If you haven't got enough blood, prioritise the aerobic (blue) bottle as most organisms we recover are aerobic.
Always sample a peripheral vein if possible, but if sampling an intravascular line when a line infection is suspected, sample all lumens and ensure labelled as cultures from a line. If inoculating blood culture bottles using a butterfly collection set and direct draw adapter cap, inoculate the aerobic bottle (blue) first and then the anaerobic bottle (red) so that any oxygen trapped in the tubing will not be transferred to the anaerobic bottle. If filling with a syringe, fill the anaerobic (red) bottle first.
How to request
Via Trak (Blood Culture Ix - ADULT ONLY). The same Trak number goes on each bottle of the set; you need to print two labels from the same request if labelling a pair of adult blood culture bottles.
Blood cultures can be taken, and sent to the lab, at any time.
Primary report after 48 hours of receipt in the lab. Total incubation 5 days.
What happens if the result is positive or abnormal
Telephoned by microbiologist.
General additional information
This test is useful for:
Patients with fever or where there is a suspicion of serious infection. Identifies blood stream infections caused by bacteria or fungi. Can also be used for small volumes of sterile fluids (e.g. Ascites, joint fluids, peritoneal dialysis fluids etc.) to aid the recovery of fastidious organisms. Collect specimens before antimicrobial therapy where possible
To help with lab risk assessment, please highlight any history of foreign travel or animal exposure in the clinical details.