top of page

Blood Culture

Ordering Info & Methodology

Test Code

Cerner Synonyms


Blood Culture Pediatric, Blood Culture x2, Blood Cultures, Blood, bacteremia, sepsis

Turn Around Time


Ordering Guide

Specimen Requirements

Sample Type

Collection Container

Alternate Collection Containers

Blood culture bottles (Collect 1 BacT/Alert FA Plus aerobic bottle & 1 FN Plus anaerobic bottle per set)

8-10mL of blood per bottle; 2 bottles per blood culture set

Add on stability
This is the length of time after sample collection that this analyte is stable. Test can be added to a previously collected sample if the time since collection is less than the add on stability time.

Minimum Volume

Add On Stability

Collection and Shipping Requirements

Deliver to Microbiology as soon as possible after collection. Leave in 35°C incubator or keep at room temperature.

Reference Intervals

Female Reference Interval

Age Category
Reference Interval

Male Reference Interval

Age Category
Reference Interval
Additional Notes

[object Object]

Measurement Uncertainty (MU)
Every laboratory value is an estimate of the true concentration of substance. MU is the 95% confidence interval around that estimate. 95% of the time, the true concentration will be within the range of the reported value ±MU. This value is based on analytical variability (precision) and does not reflect other factors such as sample collection and handling which may also affect the result.


Reported sodium = 140 mmol/L
Sodium MU = 1%
Expanded uncertainty = 140 mmol/L ± 1% or 140mmol/L ± 1.4 mmol/L
Interpretation - the true value of sodium in the sample is in the range 138.6-141.4 mmol/L, with 95% confidence.

Measurement Uncertainty

General Information: Draw cultures from peripheral veins.  Blood should not be taken through an indwelling catheter unless it cannot be obtained by venipuncture.

Information concerning antibiotic therapy MUST be stated.  A clinical diagnosis is very helpful.

If any specific organisms are suspected, please indicate this (e.g., N. gonorrhoeae).

Two cultures are recommended; three cultures are acceptable; more than three cultures in a 24-hour period require approval by the Medical Microbiologist.  

Special Indications that must be Noted on the Requisition:

Brucella: Please indicate when Brucella is suspected.  A culture for this organism is incubated for a longer time.

Fungi: If yeast is suspected, use the BacT/Alert bottles as described previously.  Indicate the order is for fungal culture as the incubation period will be extended to 21 days.  If filamentous fungi is suspected (rare), collect 10 mL of blood in Wampole Isolator tube and name the suspected fungus when possible.  Only one lysis centrifugation culture (Isolator tube) will be processed.  Deliver directly to a technologist (or outside of regular hours, leave at room temperature).

Mycobacteria (TB, atypical mycobacteria, M. avium, MAC): Use BacT/Alert MB bottle.  Inoculate the vial with up to 5 mL of blood.  Up to two cultures may be submitted.

STAT request:  The ordering physician must specify how many blood culture sets are to be drawn.  Unless otherwise specified, the phlebotomist will draw 2 sets from separate venipuncture sites during one visit.

Timed request:  The ordering physician must specify how many blood culture sets are to be drawn.  Typical orders are “blood culture x2” or “blood culture x3”.

bottom of page