Sputum fungal smear

Sputum Fungal Smear

A sputum fungal smear is a type of medical test used to determine the presence of fungi in an individual’s sputum. It can help diagnose fungal infections, such as those caused by Candida species or Aspergillus species.


In preparation for a sputum fungal smear test, the patient should discuss any medications they’re taking with their healthcare provider. It’s important to note that some medications can interfere with accurate test results.

Patients should also refrain from eating any food, drinking any liquids, or smoking cigarettes at least four hours before the test, as any of these activities can affect the sample’s accuracy.


To perform a sputum fungal smear test, a sample of sputum (mucus from the lungs) is taken from the patient. The sample can be collected using a laboratory-issued suction cup or a sputum induction machine. Once collected, the sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis. In the laboratory, the sample is spread over a slidesilica and stained, then examined under a microscope for any presence of fungi.


There are two major types of fungi that can be detected in a sputum fungal smear. These are:

  • Candida species: This type of fungus is commonly found in and on humans, and it can cause infection when it’s present in large amounts. Candida species can cause a variety of infections, including thrush, diaper rash, and vaginal yeast infection.
  • Aspergillus species: Aspergillus species are a type of fungus commonly found in soil, plants, and trees. They can also exist in humid environments, such as bathrooms or showers. Aspergillus infections can lead to respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.


There are no known risks associated with a sputum fungal smear. However, complications can occur if an infection is present and left undiagnosed.

Why It Is Done

A sputum fungal smear can help diagnose fungal lung infections, and can be used to differentiate between types of fungal infections. This test can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of antifungal treatment.

When To Do It

A sputum fungal smear is typically done when an individual is exhibiting signs and symptoms of a fungal infection, such as coughing, chest pain, or difficulty breathing. It may also be ordered to follow up on treatment or monitor for recurrence of infection.