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About the test
What is this test done for?
Sputum examination report is a test used to detect the cause of bacterial infections or other lower respiratory infections and to monitor the efficacy of treatment.
Why is it Done?
The sputum examination is done to detect bacterial lower respiratory tract infections such as bacterial pneumonia or bronchitis. The test is performed with Gram staining to identify the bacteria.
When should it be performed?

It is ordered when a person has a chronic cough and X-ray shows abnormal findings along with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fever with chills
  • Muscular pains
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Confusions
How is it done
Sputum sample is collected in a sterile cup provided by the laboratory. The sample should be obtained after deep coughing as mucus or phlegm is required and not the saliva from the mouth. The person should avoid eating or drinking 1 to 2 hours before giving the sample for testing and sample collection should be performed in the morning.

If the pathogenic bacteria is present, it means the person is suffering from lower respiratory tract bacterial infection.

The following bacteria can be present:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Hemophilus influenza
  • Moraxella cattarhalis
  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Klebsiella pneumonia

If bacteria are not detected, then it could mean that the person may be suffering from a viral infection. It is also possible that the person is suffering from a bacterial infection in which certain kind of bacteria like Mycoplasma pneumonia, Mycobacterium tuberculosis are not detected.

Other Tests
Chest X-ray along with blood tests like complete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and PCR can be performed for the final diagnosis.
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