Specimen Collection

Blood Cultures

Two or three blood cultures should be collected from separately prepared sites prior to starting antibiotic therapy. Blood can be collected by venipuncture of peripheral veins or arteries, from intravascular catheters, or by heel stick. Always observe universal precautions.

  1. Disinfect the venipuncture site and the stoppers of the culture bottles and collection tubes.
  2. Clean the site with 70% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol.
  3. Swab concentrically, starting at the center with 1 to 2% tincture of iodine or 10% providone-iodine solution.
  4. Allow the disinfectant to dry.
  5. Draw blood through a syringe and needle, and deliver through transfer set or a double-ended needle into sterile Bactec bottles. (Use a new set for each venipuncture.) For routine blood culture, use aerobic and anaerobic Bactec bottles. For fungal or AFB cultures, collect a Myco-Flytic Bactec bottle (red label).
  6. After inoculation of culture bottle, wipe residual iodine from the skin with alcohol to prevent irritation.
  7. Note minimum volumes and container requirements in the alphabetized listing of tests.