Pleural fluid culture

Overview of Pleural Fluid Culture

A pleural fluid culture is a diagnostic test that investigates for the presence of bacteria, fungi, or other organisms in the pleural cavity. This is the space between the inner and outer lining of the chest wall. It is also the space around the lungs. The test is often done in people with symptoms of an infection in the pleural cavity, such as fever and chest pain. 

Why Pleural Fluid Culture Is Done

The results of a pleural fluid culture is important in helping your healthcare provider diagnose and treat any infections you may have in the chest area. The culture can also help identify if the cause of the infection is bacterial, fungal, or an individual's own immune system and white blood cells. Additionally, results can also help your healthcare provider decide if you need to be hospitalized or given antibiotics. 

Preparation for Pleural Fluid Culture

There is no special preparation needed for a pleural fluid culture. You should tell your healthcare provider of any medications you are taking. Also, if you have recently been exposed to tuberculosis, HIV, or a bacterial infection, make sure to let your healthcare provider know. 

Procedure for Pleural Fluid Culture

The procedure for a pleural fluid culture is dCommentone in several steps. Firstly, an anesthetic may be needed to make sure you are comfortable. The provider will use a needle to take a sample of pleural fluid. The needle is inserted into the back through your ribs. This sample is then sent to the lab for analysis. The results of the culture may take a few days. 

Types of Pleural Fluid Cultures

Pleural fluid culture has two different methods. These include a direct inoculation method and a non-invasive method. With the direct inoculation method, an injected specimen of pleural fluid is taken from your chest cavity and transferred to a culture dish for incubation and identification. With the non-invasive method, normally a single sample of pleural fluid is tested for evidence of infection, with results being obtained within a few hours. 

Risks of Pleural Fluid Culture

The risks associated with a pleural fluid culture are minimal. However, there is a risk of infection or a minor reaction to the anesthesia. There is also a risk of chest discomfort, bleeding, and complications such as collapsed lung and pneumothorax. 

When Is Pleural Fluid Culture Used?

A pleural fluid culture is usually done when there is suspicion of an infection in the pleural cavity. This can include infections due to tuberculosis and HIV, bacterial pneumonia, or other causes. Sometimes, a culture is done to evaluate the effectiveness of an antibiotic treatment.