Bronchoscopic culture is a laboratory exam to check a piece of tissue or fluid from the lungs for infection-causing organisms.
Culture - bronchoscopic
How the test is performed
A sample of lung tissue is needed. For information on how that sample is obtained, see: Bronchoscopy
The sample is sent to a laboratory, and placed in a special dish (culture media) that allows bacteria, fungi, mycobacteria, or viruses to grow. The sample is placed under a microscope and examined daily for the presence of bacteria or other infection-causing organisms. Treatment is based on the results of the culture.
How to prepare for the test
This article discusses the culture test. For information on preparing for the procedure to take the tissue sample, see: Bronchoscopy
Obstructive lesions such as cancer or foreign bodies
No organisms are seen on the culture.
What abnormal results mean
Abnormal culture results usually indicate a respiratory infection. The infection may be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, mycobacteria, or fungi. The results of the culture will help determine the best treatment.
What the risks are
There are no risks involved with the laboratory culture. For risks involved with the bronchoscopy procedure, see: Bronchoscopy
Torres A, Menéndez R, Wunderlink R. Pyogenic bacterial pneumonia and lung abscess. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus VC, Martin TR, et al. Murray & Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010;chap 32.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.