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Aerobic Bacterial Culture (088-0065)
Test Mnemonic:


Specimen Requirements:

Date and time of collection. Specific anatomic site and source 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 Eswab from advancing margin of lesion. 


Eswab, culturette swab, or sterile container. 

Eswab is the preferred collection container. 

Minimum Volume:



Room temperature.


48 hours at room temperature for Eswabs and Culturette swabs. 

24 hours at room temperature for sterile containers. 


Causes for Rejection:

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

Reference Range:

No aerobic organisms isolated. 

Turnaround Time:

3 - 5 days


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


Clinical Microbiology


Wound culture, Superficial wound, Wound/Aspirate or Abscess Culture

Clinical Indication:

Suspected bacterial infection of superficial wound. 

Patient Preparation :

See specimen collection. 

CPT 4 Code:

87070, 87205 Gram stain,  additional charges, 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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