Test materials

The right choice of test material for each clinical situation and correct method of sample collection are an essential part of the preanalytical procedures in medical practices.

Respiratory specimens

Types of respiratory specimens

Respiratory specimens include nasal swab, throat swab, sputum, tracheal/bronchial secretion and bronchial lavage fluid..

Notes on respiratory sampling

TypeSample materialSpecimen collection
Upper respiratory materials

Nasal swabIntroduce swab into a nostril (in adults at least 2 cm deep) and rotate; insert swab into the transport system that contains the transport medium
Throat swabPress and rotate swab against the pharyngeal wall; then insert swab into transport medium
Lower respiratory secretions

SputumAsk patient to rinse mouth several times with tap water, then breathe in and out deeply ten times, expectorate secretion and spit it out into the labelled container – ship container immediately
Tracheal/bronchial secretionAs soon as possible after changing the tracheal tube, insert suction catheter as deeply as possible and aspirate secretion; it is best to obtain several secretions from different locations.
Bronchial lavage fluidAspirate secretions in the nasal, oral and pharyngeal cavities before bronchoscopy; insert the tip of the bronchoscope into the bronchial lumen and seal; inject up to 150 mL sterile isotonic saline and aspirate after a short time; collect lavage in containers

How to obtain sputum specimens:

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