Which lab tests may be indicated to diagnose Pseudomonas infections in specific sites?

Updated: Dec 17, 2018
  • Author: Selina SP Chen, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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The following additional studies may be indicated, depending on the site of infection:

  • Culture of the purulent discharge helps diagnose suppurative otitis media or malignant otitis externa.

  • Corneal scrapings and culture may reveal pseudomonal involvement.

  • Culture of vegetations from patients with pseudomonal infectious endocarditis (IE) reveals high quantities of the organisms, although diagnosis is usually confirmed by a repeated blood culture.

  • Sputum Gram stain and culture may be indicated to evaluate for respiratory infection. This is especially recommended in children who may be predisposed to such infections.

  • Blood gas levels may reveal hypoxemia, with or without hypercarbia.

  • Wound and burn cultures can be helpful to identify pseudomonal infections.

  • Urinalysis with culture and sensitivity is helpful when evaluating for urinary tract infection (UTI). Although rare, sloughing of vesical membrane in the urine can indicate complications of pseudomonal infections.

  • Obtain stool cultures in patients with diarrhea. Note, however, that pseudomonal organisms produce no toxins.

Diagnosis of glanders can be confirmed by isolating B mallei from blood, sputum, urine, or skin lesions. No serologic tests are available. Diagnosis of melioidosis can be confirmed by isolating B pseudomallei from the blood, urine, sputum, or skin lesions. Detecting antibodies to the bacteria in the blood is another method.

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