Sputum Culture and Sensitivity
(Sputum C & S)

Alternate Names

  • Culture and Gram Stain

When you have a severe respiratory illness such as pneumonia, a sputum culture may be done in order to identify the bacteria, virus, or fungus responsible for the illness and to determine the most effective antibiotic for treatment. A sputum sample is taken, and cultures are grown in the lab. In the first 24 hours, the strain of bacteria can be identified as either gram positive or negative, which will enable your doctor to begin treatment that is most appropriate to the strain. Over the next few days, different antibiotics are added to determine the most effective antibiotic or antifungal to treat the infection. A Sputum C & S is also used to diagnose tuberculosis, and determine the most effective treatment.

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