Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content



pawsPathologyManual: Acid Fast Bacilli Culture

Lonic Code


Test Name

Acid Fast Bacilli Culture


Mycobacteria Concentrated Culture, AFB Culture

Test Consists

Mycobacterial [AFB] culture; no AFB smear reported

Specimen Requirements

Sputum early morning deep cough to produce lower respiratory specimen; bronchioalveolar lavage; feces, urine

Volume and Container

Sterile sealed leak-proof container

Storage and Transport

Transport at ambient temperature to Microbiology Laboratory within one hour

Critical Values

Phone report of isolation of acid fast organisms

Causes for Rejection

Use of non sterile container; delay in transport; improper labeling; leaking container; swab specimen; insufficient quantity

Turn Around Time

Preliminary negative reports at end of weeks 2 and 4. Final negative report at 6 weeks. Positive reports with isolation and with identification




AFB culture 87116; AFB smear 87206

Medicare Fee



Specimens are currently sent to reference laboratory for concentration and culture. AFB isolates are identified at reference laboratory

Row Stamp


Last Updated



> 1 mL

Minimum Volume

1 mL


Suspected mycobacterial infection

Professional Fee


Tech Charge


Total Fee


Special Instructions



Microbiology BA-1672 721-2807


Specimens received at all times to be sent to reference lab

Request Form

Microbiology R& Infectious Serology requisition. Indicate medical necessity



Patient Prep


Post Processing

Observe for complications of collection procedure

Collection Guidelines

SPUTUM [EXPECTORATE] See Collection Guidelines for Common Specimens. SPUTUM [INDUCED] The patient should rinse their mouth with water after brushing gums and tongue. With the aid of a nebulizer, have the patient inhale about 25 mL of 3 10% sterile saline. This should produce a deep coughing. Collect the specimen into a sterile container. PEDIATRIC patients may require collection by suction; contact Respiratory Care. TRACHEAL ASPIRATES Collected through a tracheostomy or endotracheal tube. Pass a catheter through the site and into the trachea. Aspirate material from the trachea using a syringe or suction device. Remove the catheter and disengage the syringe or suction device. Place the specimen in a sterile container. FECES Pass directly into clean dry container. Do not contaminate with urine. Select portions containing pus, blood, or mucus. Submit a second specimen on a separate day to increase probability of isolation of pathogen. CLEAN CATCH URINE See Collection Guidelines

Reference Range

No acid fast bacilli isolated

Limitations and Contraindications

Notify laboratory if M. bovis, M. haemophilum or BCG is suspected, as these may require extended incubation and/or special media. Certain microorganisms, notably Pseudomonas, may overgrow the media, preventing successful culture



Additional Information

Reference laboratory performs susceptibility test of initial M. tuberculosis isolates automatically. For other mycobacterial susceptibility tests, contact the MCG Microbiology Laboratory. Three first morning sputums are recommended to adequately exclude pulmonary tuberculosis

CPOE Test Name

AFB Culture NonBlood Sendout






Created at 9/8/2014 5:57 PM by Bradshaw, Keir
Last modified at 2/2/2015 10:21 AM by Payne, Valarie