Sputum fungal smear

  • Definition
    • A sputum fungal smear is a laboratory test that looks for fungus in a sputum sample. Sputum is the material that comes up from air passages when you cough deeply.

  • Alternative Names
    • KOH test; Fungal smear - sputum; Fungal wet prep; Wet prep - fungal

  • How the Test is Performed
    • A sputum sample is needed. You will be asked to cough deeply and spit any material that comes up from your lungs into a special container.

      The sample is sent to a lab and examined under a microscope.

  • How to Prepare for the Test
    • There is no special preparation.

  • How the Test will Feel
    • There is no discomfort.

  • Why the Test is Performed
    • Your health care provider may order this test if you have symptoms or signs of a lung infection, especially if you have a weakened immune system due to certain medicines or diseases such as cancer or HIV/AIDS.

  • Normal Results
    • A normal (negative) result means no fungus was seen in the test sample.

      Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

  • What Abnormal Results Mean
  • Risks
    • There are no risks associated with a sputum fungal smear.

  • References
    • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. Sputum, fungus - culture. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:1038-9.

      Horan-Saullo JL, Alexander BD. Opportunistic mycoses. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 38.