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Now offering telemedicine through our Virtual Visit online program for primary care and specialty care visits → Virtual Visit appointments are available for new and existing UF Health patients. Check the FAQ section and Request an Appointment section below for more information.

Call (904) 383-1052 to make an appointment or call your physician’s office if you have questions specific to your health needs.

Routine sputum culture

  • Definition
    • Routine sputum culture is a laboratory test that looks for germs that cause infection. Sputum is the material that comes up from air passages when you cough deeply

  • Alternative Names
    • Sputum culture

  • How the Test is Performed
    • A sputum sample is needed. You will be asked to cough deeply and spit any phlegm that comes up from your lungs into a special container. The sample is sent to a lab. There, it is placed in a special dish (culture). It is then watched to see if bacteria or other disease-causing germs grow.

  • How to Prepare for the Test
    • Drinking a lot of water and other fluids the night before the test may make it easier to cough up the sputum.

  • How the Test will Feel
    • You will need to cough. Sometimes the health care provider will tap on your chest to loosen deep sputum. Or, you may be asked to inhale a steamlike mist to help you cough up the sputum. You may have some discomfort from having to cough deeply.

  • Why the Test is Performed
    • The test helps identify the bacteria or other type of germs that are causing an infection in the lungs or airways (bronchi).

  • Normal Results
    • In a normal sputum sample there will be no disease-causing germs.

  • What Abnormal Results Mean
  • Risks
    • There are no risks with this test.

  • References
    • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. Culture, routine. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:409-411.