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Sterile Fluid (Microscopy Culture & Sensitivity)

Alias: N/A

Discipline: Clinical Microbiology

Test information: The isolation of organisms known to cause bacterial and fungal infections of normally sterile site, excluding CSF. Where applicable to determine antimicrobial susceptibility results.

Availability: Available locally during routine hours: 08:45 - 21:00.

Available out of hours on telephone request.

Turnaround Time: 1 hour (Microscopy)
48 hours (Culture)

Specimen Type(s)
  • Amniotic Fluid;
  • Ascitic fluid;
  • Bursa Fluid;
  • Fluid - Synovial;
  • Pericardial fluid;
  • Peritoneal fluid;
  • Synovial (Joint) Fluid;
Other Acceptable Specimen Type(s)
Specimen Container - Adult
  • BD BACTEC Lytic Anaerobic medium;
  • BD BACTEC Plus Aerobic medium;
  • Sterile CE-marked Universal Container;
Specimen Container - Paediatric
  • Sterile CE-marked Universal Container;
  • Microscopy Culture & Sensitivity;
Part of a test profile?
Volume (min) of sample to be sent to laboratory
1 mL.
Specimens such as peritoneal fluid and ascitic fluid may contain very low numbers of organisms so a large volume is required.
Patient Preparation, Sample Handling and Transport
  • Sample before antimicrobial therapy where possible.
  • Samples of fluid rather than swabs of the fluids are the preferred specimen type to facilitate comprehensive investigation.
  • Blood culture bottles (Aerobic and anaerobic) can be inoculated at the bed side with between 5-10mL of fluid per bottle.
  • If urgent Gram film investigation is required contact the laboratory.
  • For crystals investigation please send a separate specimen direct to cytology
  • Specimens must be sent without delay and should arrive in the laboratory within 4 hours of being taken.
  • If transport is delayed store at 2-8 °C.
Maximum add on time
Units and Reference Ranges / Interpretation

Susceptibility Testing: Each susceptibility category is defined by breakpoints specific for each species and agent. The breakpoints are minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) and describe the amount of agent required to inhibit the growth of the organism.

The definitions of (S),(I), and (R) emphasize the close relationship between the susceptibility of the organism and the exposure of the organism at the site of infection.

Susceptible (S): High likelihood of therapeutic success with standard dosing.
Susceptible Increased Exposure (I): High likelihood of therapeutic success with increased dosing.
Resistant (R): High likelihood of therapeutic failure.

UKAS number
UKAS accredited test?

If you have any queries about a test or results interpretation please contact us.

Last updated: 01-06-2023