Medical Definition of Blood culture

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Blood culture: A test designed to detect if microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi are present in blood. A sample of blood obtained using sterile technique is placed in a culture media and incubated in a controlled environment for 1 to 7 days. If microorganisms grow, they can be identified as to type and tested against different antibiotics for proper treatment of the infection. Because microorganisms may only be intermittently present in blood, a series of 3 blood cultures is usually done before the result is considered negative.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018