Pathology Handbook

Sputum analysis

Clinical Indication

-

Test Includes

Routine

Culture; antibiotic sensitivity testing will be performed on potential pathogens

Tuberculosis

Microscopy for acid fast bacilli (AFB)
Culture for Mycobacteria

Request Form 

Request via ICE

Availability

On request during routine working hours

Specific Criteria

An early morning deep cough specimen collected before eating, drinking or cleaning teeth is required. Saliva is not satisfactory, and such specimens will be discarded

Specimens MUST arrive in Microbiology on the day they are collected

Please give detailed clinical information, including date of onset/contact with the suspected infection, and any current, or intended, antibiotic therapy

Patient Preparation

None

Turnaround Time

Microscopy: AFB - next routine working day

Culture: routine - 48 hours, Mycobacteria - up to 6 weeks for a negative report

Specimen

Sputum, White or orange capped large universal container

Container

Large white top universal

Collection

Samples should be transported to laboratory immediately

Lab Handling

Samples should be processed as soon as possible

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled / inadequately labelled sample
Leaking sample
Delay in sample reaching laboratory