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Bronchoscopic culture

Definition

Bronchoscopic culture is a laboratory exam to check a piece of tissue or fluid from the lungs for infection-causing organisms.

Alternative Names

Culture - bronchoscopic

How the test is performed

A sample of lung tissue is needed. For information on how that sample is obtained, see: Bronchoscopy

The sample is sent to a laboratory, and placed in a special dish (culture media) that allows bacteria, fungi, mycobacteria, or viruses to grow. The sample is placed under a microscope and examined daily for the presence of bacteria or other infection-causing organisms. Treatment is based on the results of the culture.

How to prepare for the test

This article discusses the culture test. For information on preparing for the procedure to take the tissue sample, see: Bronchoscopy

How the test will feel

See: Bronchoscopy

Why the test is performed

A bronchoscopic culture is done to find infection in the lung that cannot be accurately detected by a sputum culture . The procedure may find evidence of infection, such as:

  • Abnormal secretions
  • Abscesses
  • Inflammation
  • Obstructive lesions such as cancer or foreign bodies

Normal Values

No organisms are seen on the culture.

What abnormal results mean

Abnormal culture results usually indicate a respiratory infection. The infection may be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, mycobacteria, or fungi. The results of the culture will help determine the best treatment.

What the risks are

There are no risks involved with the laboratory culture. For risks involved with the bronchoscopy procedure, see: Bronchoscopy

Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.