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Test Code C Trach Tracheal Aspirate Culture

Biohazard Infectious

Clinical System Name

Tracheal Aspirate Culture


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

Sample Requirements

Specimen: Tracheal Aspirate

Container: Sterile Container

Preferred Vol: > 1ml

Minimum Vol: 0.5 ml


Note: Specimens with less than 25 Neutrophils per low powered field on the direct gram stain are not recommended for bacterial culture. Such findings indicate either poor specimen quality or a specimen condition that is unlikely to be associated with bacterial infection. This required criteria can be overriden if this patient is neutropenic or if the culture should be performed due to other clinical considerations.


Tracheal aspirates are usually cultured at >1 week intervals.

Processing Instructions

CPA: Send sample to Microbiology for processing. 


Off-site collection:  Tracheal Aspirate cultures are not set up at Off-site Children's Lab locations. Sample should be sent to SCH Main Campus for set up and Gram stain. Refrigerate sample until and during courier transport. 


Other off-site locations, refrigerate sample during storage and transport to SCH Microbiology. 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

Cultures are read at appropriate intervals to detect early bacterial growth. STAT 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 (such as MIC's and ID's)

Reporting Information

Preliminary Report:  18 - 24 hours

Negative Final Report: 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: