M112-3

Sputum: Normal respiratory flora- Shipped August 2011

HISTORY

A sample simulating a sputum sample obtained from a 63 year old male, out-patient with cough and fever was sent to category A and B laboratories. The sample was suitable for culture.

Participants were expected to report “normal respiratory flora” as no pathogens were included in this sample.

MAIN EDUCATIONAL POINTS from M112-3

  1. In every microbiology laboratory, the most common culture outcome of clinical samples is to find either the absence of any bacterial growth or the presence of normal commensal flora (normal flora).
  2. It is important to inform the clinician that the laboratory has only found commensal organisms in the culture and that the likelihood of these organisms being pathogens is extremely low.

Full critique (PDF)

Posted in Clinical Bacteriology Results, critiques