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Catheter Tip Culture Test

Last updated April 16, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

The Catheter Tip Culture Test consists of a catheter with a pointed tip, which is inserted into an area suspected of being infected, such as an abscess (collection of pus) or wound.


What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Arterial Catheter Tip Culture Test
  • Swan Gantz Catheter Tip Culture Test
  • Tenckhoff Catheter Tip Culture Test

What is Catheter Tip Culture Test? (Background Information)

  • A catheter is a thin plastic tube that is inserted into the body to perform a wide range of medical functions
  • The Catheter Tip Culture Test consists of a catheter with a pointed tip, which is inserted into an area suspected of being infected, such as an abscess (collection of pus) or wound
  • Once removed, the top 5 cm of the catheter is cut off from the tip and sent for testing
  • The tests performed may include streaking the tip on a special growth media and observing what microorganisms grow. This indicates or helps to identify the microorganisms causing the infection
  • Microorganisms often retrieved using the Cath Tip Culture Test requires oxygen to function. Thus, they are called aerobic microorganisms

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Catheter Tip Culture Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Catheter Tip Culture Test:

  • Swollen area filled with pus surrounded by irritated tissue (abscess)
  • Infected injury, which is marked by:
    • Swelling
    • Redness
    • Itching    
    • Pain

How is the Specimen Collected for Catheter Tip Culture Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for the Catheter Tip Culture Test:

Sample required: Infected tissue

Process: Insertion of a catheter tip into an area suspected of being infected.

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Catheter Tip Culture Test Result?

A positive Catheter Tip Culture Test indicates infection, which is most likely caused by an aerobic microorganism.

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:

http://www.dovemed.com/common-procedures/procedures-laboratory/

References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Sept. 4, 2015
Last updated: April 16, 2018