Blood Cultures: Definition, Indications, and 10 Reasons Why It’s Needed – Under normal conditions, blood should be sterile from various microorganisms. If there are microorganisms in the blood and cause infection, this condition is referred to as bacteremia or septicaemia.
If microorganisms continue to multiply and spread, and are not handled properly, the sufferer can experience sepsis, which is an inflammatory reaction throughout the body.
Bacteremia, which does not cause serious or undetectable symptoms, can heal on its own, especially bacteremia caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae or Salmonella. However, if bacteremia is accompanied by a serious bacterial infection, such as pneumonia or meningitis, intensive treatment is needed. Untreated bacteremia can lead to death.
The process of blood sampling and blood culture examination is quite simple. The doctor will conduct an examination of the patient’s blood sample in the laboratory.
What is Blood Cultures Procedure?
Blood culture is a diagnostic examination method to detect the presence of microorganisms in the blood. Such microorganisms can be bacteria, fungi, or parasites.
The presence of these pathogens in the bloodstream can indicate a blood infection called bacteremia. Positive blood culture indicates you have bacteria in the blood.
Such blood infections can spread systemically throughout the body if your immune system cannot fight it. This systemic infection is known as sepsis disease.
The blood culture procedure involves simple blood retrieval. Laboratory officials will test the patient’s blood sample and pass the results on to the doctor. If there is a finding, then the test results can help in determining the actions necessary to treat any infection.
Blood Cultures Indication
If there are bacteremia in the blood, then a blood culture test will be recommended to be performed.
Symptoms that arise if there is bacteremia, include headache, weakness, shortness of breath, chills, fever, heart palpitations, and muscle pain.
This condition should be handled properly so as not to develop into sepsis. Because, the inflammation that occurs throughout the body can be accompanied by damage to various organs in the body.
Symptoms of sepsis can include dizziness, nausea, mottled skin, decreased blood pressure, decreased consciousness, and reduced urine production due to decreased organ function.
However, this examination is recommended for someone who has completed surgery, undergoes heart valve surgery, or it is undergoing treatment with immunosuppressive drugs.
Because, after undergoing some of these medical procedures, patients are more at risk of inflammation throughout the body (sepsis). Not only for postoperative patients, infants and children are also highly recommended to undergo blood culture if there is suspected infection.
In addition to the surgical process, there are several other factors that make microorganisms multiply and spread in the blood.
A person is recommended to undergo a blood culture procedure if they have diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and HIV/AIDS.
Why is blood culture needed?
The doctor performs this procedure if there is a possibility of systemic infection or wants to check for certain types of microorganisms in the patient’s blood. The results of this test can help doctors to determine the specific organism that causes the blood infection and the best way to fight it.
This test is possible if the patient shows symptoms such as:
- Long-lasting fever
- Less frequent urination than usual
- Faster heart rate or breathing.
In more severe infections, the following conditions may occur:
- Inflammation in various areas of the body
- Blood clots in blood vessels
- Significant drop in blood pressure
- Organ failure.
After Blood Cultures
If the blood culture test results show the infection of microorganisms in the blood, the doctor will give antibiotic and antifungal treatment according to the microbes that cause the infection.
If the cause of the infection is bacteria, the doctor will give the antibiotic treatment a broad spectrum through injections. If through a bacterial resistance test is already known to be an effective type of antibiotic, the doctor will provide antibiotic treatment with resistance test results.