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Interpretive Handbook

Test 8082 :
Bacterial Culture, Blood

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Bacteremia results when bacteria multiply at a rate that exceeds removal by phagocytes. The clinical pattern of bacteremia may be transient, intermittent, or continuous. Transient bacteremia often occurs after manipulative procedures (dental procedures, cystoscopy) or surgery in contaminated areas of the body. Undrained abscesses (intraabdominal, pelvic, hepatic) may result in intermittent bacteremia. A hallmark feature of subacute bacterial endocarditis is a continuous bacteremia.


The sources of bacteremia are genitourinary tract (25%), respiratory tract (20%), abscesses (10%), surgical wounds (5%), biliary tract (5%), other known sites (10%), and unknown sites (25%).

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Diagnosis and treatment of the etiologic agent of sepsis

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Microbial growth is reported.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

As a general guideline, 2 sets of cultures should be collected per febrile episode in adult patients, no more than 4 blood culture sets should be collected in a 24-hour period, and blood cultures should be collected prior to administration of antibiotics.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

No growth

Identification of all organisms

Clinical References Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature

Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R: Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. Sixth edition. New York, Churchill Livingstone, 2005, pp 906-926