Specimen Requirements


Culture, Blood

Specimen Requirement

Remove the flip-off cap from BD BACTEC vial top and inspect the vial for cracks, contamination, excessive cloudiness, and bulging or indented stoppers. DO NOT USE if any defect is noted. Before inoculating, swab the septum with alcohol (iodine is not recommended). Aseptically inject or draw directly 8–10 mL of specimen per vial. If sample volumes of 3–4 mL are used, recovery will not be as great as with larger volumes.

Specimen Collection:
The specimen must be collected using sterile techniques to reduce the chance of contamination. The typical specimen volume is 8–10 mL. It is recommended that the specimen be inoculated into the BD BACTEC vials at bedside. Most commonly, a 10cc or 20cc syringe with a Luer-Lok brand tip is used to draw the sample. If appropriate, a Vacutainer™ brand Needle Holder and a Vacutainer brand Blood Collection Set, Vacutainer Safety-Lok™ Blood Collection Set or other tubing “butterfly” set may be used. If using a needle and tubing set (direct draw), carefully observe the direction of blood flow when starting sample collection. The vacuum in the vial will usually exceed 10 mL, so the user should monitor the volume collected by means of the 5 mL graduation marks on the vial label. When the desired 8–10 mL has been drawn, the flow should be stopped by crimping the tubing and removing the tubing set from the BD BACTEC vial. Sample volumes as low as 3 mL can be used, however, recovery will not be as great as with larger volumes. The inoculated BD BACTEC vial should be transported as quickly as possible to the laboratory. 


Conventional culture technique.


Do not refrigerate of freeze, do not pre-incubate bottles prior to shipment.

Reference Range

By Report.


5-6 days

Clinical Use

Aids in the diagnosis of septicemia, endocarditis, fever of unknown origin, and sepsis.

Test Code