Blood Cultures for Diagnosis of Bacteremia

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THE diagnosis of bacteremia can be made with certainty only after a positive blood culture has been obtained. However, the clinical usefulness of a report on blood culture, whether positive or negative, depends upon the effectiveness of the technic employed in making the culture. In view of the importance of the blood culture procedure in clinical medicine it is surprising that none of the standard laboratory manuals, with the exception of that of Schaub, Foley, Scott, and Bailey,1 offer more than a cursory description of the technic. Schaub and Foley and their newer collaborators have given an excellent account of their method of blood culture. While their method and our method are in some ways different their procedure also gives good results.

The procedure of blood culture used in our laboratory is a simple one and has been in use many years. Our results have been remarkably accurate, and although we do not use one of the recently devised “closed-system” procedures2 to prevent contamination, nevertheless our contamination rate is minimal.

Blood Culture Procedure

Three principles. In preparing for a blood culture study, three important steps must be taken: (1) utilizing a technic that minimizes contamination; (2) providing the best conditions for bacterial growth, so that any microorganisms that are present in the blood may have an opportunity to grow; (3) rapidly reporting results so that the physician will be able to use the information while it still is clinically essential, and before it becomes merely a bit of data to. . .



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