What is the role of sputum culture in the workup of mycoplasmal pneumonia?

Updated: Dec 28, 2018
  • Author: Michael Joseph Bono, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

Sputum Gram stains and cultures are usually not helpful because M pneumoniae lacks a cell wall and cannot be stained. M pneumoniae is difficult to culture, requires special culture media, and needs 7-21 days to grow. Routine culturing is successful in only 40-90% of cases and does not provide information to guide patient management. Rapid pharyngeal culture for M pneumoniae has shown promising results. [30]


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