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Test Code C Mid Ear Ear Culture - Middle

Biohazard Infectious

Clinical System Name

Ear (Middle) Culture


Middle Ear

Inner Ear



Includes Bacterial Culture and Gram Stain. Specimen cultured for Aerobic and Anaerobic bacteria.

Sample Requirements

SCH Main Campus Specimen collection: Obtain specimen using sterile technique. Inner ear aspirates should be submitted in a capped syringe or sterile tube. For samples from ruptured ear drum, the  ear fluid should be collected on a BD ESwab. The swab is inserted into the tube of Amies transport media supplied in the collection kit.


Off-Site Specimen collection: Sample must be received by SCH Lab within 24 hours of collection. Samples collected at Off-Site locations should be collected on a BD ESwab which contains Amies transport media. 


Alternatively, inner ear fluid can be collected using a sterile syringe.


Container: Swab should be inserted into the sterile plastic tube provided in the package. Syringes used for inner ear aspirates should be capped to maintain sample integrity. 


Preferred Volume: N/A

Minimum Volume: N/A

Processing Instructions

CPA: Send sample to Microbiology for processing. 


Off-site processing:  Off-site Children's Lab locations should set up culture and gram stain if inner ear fluid is sent in a sterile tube or capped syringe (without transport media). After culture set up, refrigerate remaining sample until transport to SCH Micro.


Samples collected on BD ESwabs are sent to Main Campus Microbiology for culture set up. Swabs can be held at room temperature before and during courier transport. The exception to this includes samples received after the second to the last courier of the day. These late in the day samples should be set up and incubated at the Regional Lab to avoid result delay. Any left over ESwab Amies media can be held at room temp and sent with the plates to SCH Micro.





BD Culture Swab, MaxV (+) Swab
Temp Time
Room temp 24 hours  
Refrigerated OK up to 48 hours 
Frozen N



Procedure Performed Turn Around Time (TAT)
Gram Stain 24/7

2 hours

Culture 24/7 48 - 72 hours

Cultures are read at appropriate intervals to detect early bacterial growth. STAT culture requests are not applicable.

Performing Laboratory

Seattle Children's Laboratory



Microbiology Laboratory

CPT Codes




This test is not limited to the CPT codes listed.  Others may be added as more testing is necessary and depending on the pathogens isolated (example: MIC's and ID's)

Reporting Information

Preliminary Report:  18 - 24 hours

Negative Final Report: 48 hours


When Moderate to Abundant Polys are seen on Gram Stain, culture incubation will be extended up to one week if culture does not grow in 48 hours.



Notifiable Result

See Link below for Notifiable Conditions for WA state labs:


See Link below for PDF of phone numbers for Local Health jurisdictions (by County) in WA State: