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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Tests and Exams > Anaerobic Bacteria, Blood Culture For: Results and Values
      Category : Health Centers > Infections (Infectious Diseases)

Anaerobic Bacteria, Blood Culture For

Alternate Names : Blood Culture for Anaerobic Bacteria

Anaerobic Bacteria, Blood Culture For | Preparation & Expectations | Results and Values

What do the test results mean?

Normal blood does not contain bacteria. If any bacteria are found with this test, the result is abnormal. This is called a positive test or a positive blood culture. A positive test generally means one of two things:

  • the person has bacteria in their blood, a condition known as sepsis. Bacteria may also have been introduced into the blood through an open wound, by the use of intravenous drugs, or on an artificial device inserted into the bloodstream. In most people, the infection started in another part of the body, such as the lungs or kidneys.
  • rarely, the blood sample was contaminated with bacteria that live on the skin. As a needle is inserted through the skin to collect blood, bacteria from the skin may get on the needle. To avoid this problem, the skin is cleaned before inserting a needle. Bacteria that cause contamination are often different from the bacteria that cause serious infections of the blood.
  • If a person has a positive test from contamination, no treatment is needed. If a person has bacteria in their blood, antibiotic treatment is needed. This test allows the bacteria that are causing the infection to be identified and treated. For example, an antibiotic may kill one type of bacteria and be totally ineffective against another type of bacteria.

    Examples of anaerobic bacteria that may cause infections of the blood include:

  • Bacteroides
  • E. coli
  • Klebsiella
  • Clostridium
  • In some cases, a person may have a blood infection but the test is still negative. Sometimes, bacteria are only in the blood from time to time, making the test falsely negative. Repeated blood culture tests may be ordered if this type of situation is suspected.

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    Anaerobic Bacteria, Blood Culture For: Preparation & Expectations


    Author: Francesca Coltrera, BA
    Reviewer: Adam Brochert, MD
    Date Reviewed: 05/26/00

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