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Aerobic Bacterial Culture (088-0065)
Test Mnemonic:


Specimen Requirements:

Date and time of collection. Specific anatomic site is necessary for proper culture setup and workup. 


Remove exudate by wiping with sterile saline or 70% alcohol. Remove as much superficial flora as possible. Collect sample with culturette swab from advancing margin of lesion. 


Eswab, culturette swab, or sterile container. 

Eswab is the preferred collection container. 

Minimum Volume:



Transport within two hours at room temperature.  Wound cultures sent in sterile containers are able to be stored up to 24 hours at room temperature. 

Eswabs and Culturette swabs are able to be stored up to 48 hours at room temperature. 


48 hours for Eswabs and Culturette swabs. 

24 hours for sterile containers. 


Causes for Rejection:

Mislabeled or conflicting patient information. No date, time or collector. 

Reference Range:

No aerobic organisms isolated. 

Turnaround Time:

If no aerobic organisms isolated, turnaround time is 2-3 days. If potential pathogens are recovered, turnaround time may vary. 


Gram stain, culture for the isolation of aerobic organisms, and when appropriate, susceptibility testing. 


Clinical Microbiology


Wound culture, aerobic culture, wound

Clinical Indication:

Suspected bacterial infection of superfical wound. 

Patient Preparation :

See specimen collection. 

CPT 4 Code:

87040, 87205 gram stain,  additional if indicated


Tissue or aspirate culture is considered superior to swab specimens. If swabs must be used, Eswabs are recommended. 

If suspicious of anaerobic bacteria (foul ordor, pus, or gas production) please collect deep aspirate or tissue for culture and order corresponding test. 

Decubitus ulcer samples from swabs are NOT recommended.  Superficial wound cultures from this site normally reflect surface colonization and not true pathogenic agents. Tissue or deep biopsy is recommended. 

When ordering tests for which Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement will be sought, physicians should only order tests that are medically necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of the patient. Components of the organ or disease panels may be ordered individually. The diagnostic information must substantiate all tests ordered and must be in the form of an ICD-10 code or its verbal equivalent.
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