A sputum culture is used to find bacteria that can cause infections in the lungs.  Doctors may order one to three sputum cultures in order to make an accurate diagnosis.

Patient Instructions

If possible, you should use water to gently brush your teeth and the inside of your mouth including the tongue.  Rinse your mouth and gargle with water. Do not use toothpaste or mouthwash.

  1. The first morning specimen is best.
  2. Open the sterile container insuring that inner lip is not touched.
  3. Hold the container upright and lift to mouth area.
  4. Cough deeply and expectorate (cough or spit out phlegm from the throat) into the collection container.
  5. Label the collection cup with first and last name, date of birth, and date and time of collection.
  6. Bring the specimen to the hospital laboratory immediately (within one hour of collection).