How is a Gram stain and culture used in the workup of sepsis/septic shock?

Updated: Oct 07, 2020
  • Author: Andre Kalil, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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At least 1 mL of fluid or tissue is needed for cultures. [2] For aerobic or anaerobic cultures, 0.5 mL of fluid or 0.5 g of tissue should be transported to the laboratory in the appropriate aerobic or anaerobic transport medium. [2]

If pneumonia is suspected, a sputum specimen should be obtained for Gram stain and culture, provided that the patient has a productive cough and that a good-quality specimen can be obtained. [66] Any abscess should be drained promptly and purulent material sent to the microbiology laboratory for analysis. If meningitis is suspected, a CSF specimen should be obtained.

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