Specimen Collection - Blood Culture

Complete instructions for collecting blood cultures by direct inoculation into the blood culture bottles and by collection into SPS vacutainer tubes can be found in specimen collection procedure. If the culture has been ordered with ARDS (often ordered by physicians when patient is receiving antibiotic therapy), please use the green- and purple-top blood culture bottles. Routine blood cultures are collected in blue- and purple-top blood culture bottles. Please refer to the specimen collection department of the Laboratory for detailed information regarding collection of pediatric specimens.

In order to emphasis the importance of a sterile site to prevent false positive results, the following information is listed here.

Venipuncture Collection

  • Clean skin over proposed site (area of 5cm) using 70% isopropyl alcohol for 30 seconds and allow to dry (10 sec).
  • Clean site beginning in center and proceeding in concentric circles to periphery using either 
    • 2% iodine tincture 
    • 10% povidone iodine
  • Allow iodine to dry for 30 seconds (2% tincture) to 60 Seconds (povidone).
  • Clean top of collection bottle or tube for 10 seconds with 70% isopropyl alcohol immediately before collection. Allow to air dry for before contact with needle.
  • If patient is sensitive to iodine remove iodine following venipuncture using 70% isopropyl alcohol.
  • Patients hypersensitive to iodine 
  • ¨ use a double application of 70% isopropyl alcohol

Collection from lines and catheters (non laboratory personnel)

  • Clean access of catheter or line thoroughly for 30 seconds with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Allow to air dry for 30 seconds before contact with collection "needle".
  • Clean top of collection bottle or tube for 10 seconds with 70% isopropyl alcohol immediately before collection. Allow to air dry before contact with needle.
  • Collect a minimum of 2ml's of specimen, to remove contaminates and "sludge", in red top tube (without additives) before collection of blood culture specimen.