Blood Cultures

Our Central Laboratory utilizes a state of the art instrument, the BACTEC 9240, for the testing of blood cultures. This instrument accelerates early growth detection by up to 12 hours for most medically significant organisms compared to older methods. It also allows us to complete the monitoring of the cultures in five (5) instead of the common seven (7) days.

The BACTEC 9240 provides continuous testing of blood cultures through non-invasive fluorescent technology. Approximately 15 to 20 cc of blood are drawn from the patient and injected into two Bactec vials (9 to 12 cc in an aerobic bottle with resin, 3 to 6 cc in an anaerobic bottle). When microorganisms are present, they metabolize nutrients in the medium and release CO2. A sensor dye in the bottle reacts with CO2. The BACTEC 9240′s photo detectors measure the level of fluorescence which corresponds to the amount of CO2 released by organisms. This measurement is then interpreted by the instrument against known positive parameters.

Fluorescent photometric measurements are taken in 10 minutes cycles around the clock. Positive cultures are immediately flagged with both visual and audible alarms. Bottles are then pulled from the instrument for confirmatory testing and for isolation and identification. Since the detection time is reduced by utilizing this methodology, earlier identification and final report of the culture is possible. In addition, studies indicate that the advanced non-invasive technology of the BACTEC 9240 will reduce the odds of cross contamination as well.

For additional information, please contact our Microbiology Department.