A blood culture is a test that involves checking the presence of pathogens such as yeast and bacteria in the blood. The condition where foreign invaders have infected the blood is known as bacteremia. A positive blood culture indicates the presence of bacteria in the blood. Most sources of a blood infection start from the gastrointestinal tract, skin, urine, or lungs.
Steps for Proper Blood Culture Collection
- Remove all the plastic caps from the bottles.
- Use 70% alcohol to cleanse and wipe the bottle’s rubber septa.
- Cleanse the venipuncture site vigorously back and forth for 30 seconds using a new wipe containing 70% isopropyl followed by chlorhexidine antiseptic of 2%
- Leave the chloraprep for at least 30 seconds to dry completely. Don’t use gauze to wipe the site, and don’t use fingers to touch the venipuncture.
- Use a syringe from the butterfly collection system to collect blood. Attach the blood transfer device and the syringe and then fill the required volumes to the blood culture bottles
- When filling the blood, the blood culture bottles must be standing upright.
- The exact size, collection time, and culture are documented on the collection label and in the appropriate fields.
- Blood culture can be collected at small time intervals, and then initiation of empiric therapy is conducted. However, multiple blood cultures shouldn’t be collected from a single venipuncture.
- Then, apply the collection label to each bottle in a vertical position. Ensure the manufacturer’s label is exposed for the barcode to be seen
- The bottles are then transported to the microbiology immediately.
How Long Do You Wait for Blood Culture Results?
A blood culture with bacteria’s presence takes about two to three days for the results to show. However, some bacteria types can take up to ten days. Fungus takes longer than bacteria and can show up in the culture after 30 days.
Purpose of Blood Culture
Doctors order a blood culture if they suspect a patient has a blood infection. Blood is tested for infection to avoid any complications such as sepsis. A blood infection can affect the immune system and damage the body organs. Pathogens in the blood produce toxins that prevent the body from working normally. After the test results, the doctor determines a particular bacteria or organism in the blood and how to combat it.
Symptoms of Blood Infection
If the blood culture is positive, the patient can experience several symptoms, including;
- Shaking chills
- Moderate or high fever
- Muscle aches
- Excessive fatigue
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate or palpitations
Potential Risks of a Blood Culture
Complications experienced by patients only occur after they give blood. However, drawing blood for blood culture is a routine process; hence, severe side effects hardly occur. Risks that can occur after giving a blood sample include;
- Excessive bleeding
- Bleeding under the skin
A blood culture test is done on several patients each year. Doctors should ensure that the blood culture kits are clean to avoid contaminating the blood sample. Again, experienced medical practitioners should carry out the procedure to avoid any potential risks of blood culture. Anyone experiencing any symptoms of blood infection should see a doctor sooner.