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Test Code C Sputum Sputum Culture

Biohazard Infectious

Clinical System Name

Sputum Culture


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

Sample Requirements

Specimen: Sputum (expectorated) from a deep cough.

Container: Sterile Container

Preferred Vol: N/A

Minimum Vol: N/A


*Samples which are predominatly saliva contain epithelial cells and a mixture of micoorganisms from the oropharynx. Such samples will not yield clinically relevant information. Samples with >10 epithelial cells per low power field on microscopic examination will be rejected. For Cystic Fibrosis patients only, see CF Resiratory Culture

Processing Instructions


CPA: Send to Microbiology for processing. 


Off-site collection: Sputum cultures are not set up at Off-site Children's Lab locations. Refrigerate sample until and during transport to SCH Micro.  


Other off-site locations, refrigerate sample until and during transport to SCH Micro. Sample must be received into the microbiology laboratory within 24 hours of collection. 


Temp Time
Room temp 2 hours
Refrigerated 24 hours
Frozen N



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

2 hours

Culture 24/7 48-72 hours



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 codes)

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:

Reporting Information

Preliminary Report:  24 hours

Negative Final Report: 48 hours