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A Key Investigation for Diagnosis of Bloodstream Infections

Blood Culture

This booklet is intended to be a useful reference tool for physicians, nurses, clinical microbiologists, phlebotomists, laboratory personnel and all other healthcare professionals involved in the blood culture process.

Blood Culture - A Key Investigation for Diagnosis of Bloodstream Infections

This educational webpage is based on the Blood Culture Educational Booklet that you can access HERE.


"…Positive blood culture results either establish or confirm an infectious etiology of a patient’s illness. Moreover, [they also provide] the etiologic agent for AST*, which, in turn, optimizes antimicrobial therapy.1"

The laboratory detection of bacteremia and fungemia using blood cultures is one of the most simple and commonly used investigations to establish the etiology of bloodstream infections.

Rapid, accurate identification of the bacteria or fungi causing bloodstream infections provides vital clinical information required to diagnose and treat sepsis.

Sepsis is a complex inflammatory process that is largely underrecognized as a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. There are an estimated 49 million cases and 11 million deaths worldwide each year,2 meaning that sepsis causes 1 death almost every 3 seconds.3

Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment make a critical difference when it comes to improving sepsis patient outcomes. Chances of survival decline drastically the longer initiation of treatment is delayed. If a patient receives antimicrobial therapy within the first hour of diagnosis, chances of survival are close to 80%; this is reduced by 7.6% for every hour after. Yet, if a patient initially receives inappropriate antimicrobial treatment, they are five times less likely to survive.4

This booklet aims to:

  • answer key questions commonly asked in relation to blood culture
  • provide practical recommendations for routine blood culture procedures
  • offer an illustrated step-by-step guide to best blood culture collection practices.

* AST: Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing


Dr. Jennifer Dien Bard, PhD D(ABMM)

Director of Clinical Microbiology and Virology, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; Professor of Pathology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA

for her helpful advice and comprehensive review of this booklet.

The content on this website and associated materials do not constitute medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for the individual professional judgement of any physician or other health care practitioner regarding the appropriate course of action for a particular patient. All recommendations should be independently reviewed with appropriate medical staff in light of the needs of any particular institution and its patients. bioMérieux makes no guarantee or representation regarding the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this information for any particular purpose, including but not limited to any cost savings.