sputum specimen

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a small sample or part taken to show the nature of the whole, such as a small quantity of urine for urinalysis or a small fragment of tissue for microscopic study.
clean-catch specimen (clean-voided specimen) a urine specimen obtained after the external urethral area is washed with a liquid soap and rinsed well; then the patient starts a urinary stream, stops it, and voids into a sterile specimen container. The purpose of obtaining such a specimen is to minimize contamination by external organisms. Called also midstream specimen.
midstream specimen clean-catch specimen.
sputum specimen a sample of mucous secretion from the bronchi and lungs; see also sputum specimen.


mucous secretion from the lungs, bronchi, and trachea that is ejected through the mouth, in contrast to saliva, which is the secretion of the salivary glands. Called also expectoration.
induced sputum a sputum specimen produced for diagnostic tests by aerosol administration of a hypertonic saline solution.
sputum specimen a sample of mucous secretion from the bronchi and lungs. The specimen may be examined microscopically for the presence of malignant cells (cytologic examination) or tested to identify pathogenic bacteria (bacteriologic examination). It is essential that the specimen obtained be mucus from the lungs and bronchi and not saliva. For those unable to produce sputum for examination, an aerosol may be used to increase the flow of secretions and stimulate coughing. The optimum time for collection of a sputum specimen is in the morning before eating or drinking anything. At this time secretions accumulated in the bronchi through the night are more readily available, and, should the coughing produce gagging, the patient is less likely to vomit if the stomach is empty. Specimens collected for bacteriologic culture must be placed in a sterile container and handled with care to avoid contamination from sources other than the sputum.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

sputum specimen

A specimen of mucus from the lungs expectorated through the mouth or obtained via tracheal suctioning with an in-line trap or bronchoscope. Sputum specimens are used to 1. identify the microorganism responsible for lung infections; 2. identify cancer cells shed by lung tumors; 3. aid in the diagnosis and management of occupational lung diseases. See: postural drainage

Patient care

The procedure for coughing up a sputum sample is explained to the patient. The patient should increase fluid intake the evening prior to collection (unless otherwise restricted), brush his or her teeth, remove dentures, and gargle and rinse the mouth with to remove food particles. These directions may decrease the contamination of the specimen by bacteria in the mouth or the throat. Using the sterile collection container provided, the patient is instructed to take three deep breaths, then force a deep cough and expectorate into a sterile screw-top container. The specimen should be collected in the early morning before ingesting food or drink if possible. The nurse or respiratory therapist examines the specimen to differentiate between sputum and saliva, documents its characteristics (color, viscosity, odor) and volume, and records the date and time the specimen went to the laboratory and the reason the specimen was taken. Five to 10 ml of sputum is typically needed for laboratory analysis. A specimen will be rejected by the laboratory if it contains excessive numbers of epithelial cells from the mouth or throat or if it fails to show adequate numbers of neutrophils on gram staining. If the patient cannot cough up a specimen, the respiratory therapist can use sputum induction techniques such as heated aerosol (nebulization), followed in some instances by postural drainage and percussion. More invasive means of obtaining a sputum specimen are with suction or bronchoscopy. These techniques are used in intubated patients, and in those from whom an uncontaminated specimen is required.

The following procedures should be followed to obtain a specimen by suctioning: the operator should put on sterile gloves, and a face shield, mask, and gown to avoid exposure to airborne pathogens during the procedure; suction equipment, specimen containers and oxygenating devices should assembled at the bedside; the patient should be hyperoxygenated to an oxygen saturation of 99% to 100% before suctioning; suction is applied for about 10 to 15 sec, and the patient’s respiratory and cardiac status are closely monitored for evidence of poor tolerance for the procedure. Sputum may also be collected bronchoscopically, through the inner channel of the bronchoscope. Normal saline is used as an irrigating solution if needed, a technique known as bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). BAL increases the likelihood of obtaining a diagnostic specimen, although on occasion the fluid used to irrigate the airways may contain local anesthetics, which, because they are bacteriostatic, may prevent bacteria from growing in culture. After bronchoscopy, the patient is observed closely for hypoxia and other possible complications, and oral liquids are withheld until the gag reflex has returned and the patient can swallow saliva without difficulty. All sputum specimens should be sent to the laboratory immediately and refrigerated. They should be treated as infective until proven otherwise. Appropriate isolation procedures are used for handling specimens. Common isolates from sputum specimens include Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcous pneumoniae, and Moraxella catarrhalis.

Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
Collect sputum specimens on 3 different days for AFB smear and mycobacterial culture.
Two (2) sets of morning sputum specimens (3-5 ml each) at 30 minutes intervals were collected from each participant for the study since sputum is best collected in the morning soon after the patient wakes up and before any antiseptic mouth-wash use.
Although obtaining an induced sputum specimen is a simple and well-tolerated procedure, [14] it needs to be conducted by a trained healthcare worker.
On obtaining a fresh sputum specimen from these 17 contacts 2(12%) were found negative for both ZN smear and GeneXpert MTB leaving 15(88%) TB positive contacts.
Processing of sputum specimen followed by culture and drug susceptibility testing (DST) is essential to diagnose drug resistance [9].
The sputum samples were collected as early morning sputum specimen after deep cough, one at the premises of the hospital and the other on the next early morning.
Each sputum specimen was first examined microscopically in a direct smear prepared from the untreated specimen and then in a smear made from a centrifuged concentrated deposit obtained after the specimen was treated and homogenized (Fig.
An early morning sputum specimen was sent for TB assessment and all samples were negative for acid-fast bacilli.
Patients with more than 3% eosinophils in the induced sputum specimen or with a positive MPT received a 1-week prescription for inhaled budesonide 160 mcg twice daily and inhaled formoterol (Symbicort) 4.5 mcg twice daily.
The essential components of the TB control plan included in the SOC are those elements that address the administration of anti-TB drugs, patient response to treatment, collecting sputum specimen, maintaining respiratory isolation, discharge requirements, and patient education .
In the study reported here the patients were not fasted prior to the induced sputum specimen collection and a single sample was obtained using an ordinary ward nebulizer.