Blood specimens

The diagnosis of septicemia is best made by demonstrating sustained bacteremia. After direct inoculation of blood into liquid culture media, culture broths are incubated at 35 °C and examined several times daily. Growth is detected by macroscopic turbidity, blind subculture, or measurement of CO 2 released from 14C-labeled substrates; other techniques are also available.

Most bacteria and yeasts will grow in common commercial blood culture media, but prolonged incubation is required to isolate some yeasts and Brucella species. Biphasic broth-agar media can also be used for prolonged incubation. Antimicrobial-removing resin media or lysis-centrifugation systems may be used in addition to these media when patients are receiving antimicrobial therapy or are suspected of having fungal infections.

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