Addressing blood culture challenges for laboratories
A blood culture is a routine laboratory test in which blood – or another sterile body fluid – is taken from a patient and inoculated into bottles containing specialized media to determine whether infection-causing microorganisms are present in the patient’s bloodstream. Blood cultures are an incredibly important laboratory test because they either establish or confirm that there is an infectious etiology for the patient’s illness. Upon notification of a positive blood culture, microbiology laboratories take action and quickly move onto other steps in their processes to identify which microorganism is causing illness in the patient and which antimicrobials can be used to treat the patient.
Blood cultures may appear to be straightforward compared to other, more complicated microbiological tests, such as MALDI-TOF identification or Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing. However, they often present a number of challenges for laboratories, especially with significant vacancy rates in clinical and public health laboratories, as discussed by the American Society for Microbiology in 2021. In this webinar, Dr. Mortensen will focus on areas in which laboratories frequently encounter challenges related to blood culture – including blood culture contamination, appropriate sample volume for adult and pediatric patients, and sterile body fluids testing.