Mycobacterial Blood Cultures

Disseminated mycobacterial infection is a frequent complication in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and occasionally occurs in other critically ill patients. Blood is inoculated directly into a special mycobacterial culture bottle containing 14C labelled substrate. Mycobacterial metabolism produces radioactive carbon dioxide, which is measured radio-metrically. The amount of radioactive gas is converted into a growth index. An average of 15 days is required to detect a positive culture, which is considerably faster than previous methods. Cultures are maintained up to 6 weeks before issuing a final report.

Reference value is no acid fast bacilli isolated after 42 days. If the culture is positive, acid fast bacilli will be identified.

Specimen requirement is one 10 mL yellow top (SPS) tube.

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