Test Overview
Test Methodology


Test Usage

Determine causative agent of infection.

Reference Range *

Less than 10 squamous epithelial cells per low power field; normal respiratory flora.

* Reference ranges may change over time. Please refer to the original patient report when evaluating results.

Test Limitations

Presence of normal upper respiratory flora will be reported. Normal flora includes: alpha streptococci (viridans group), gamma streptococci, Neisseria sp (not N. gonorrhoeae), Micrococcus, diphtheroids, Hemophilus sp (not H. influenzae), coagulase negative staphylococci, Capnocytophaga sp, Eikenella sp, yeast (not Cryptococcus). If specimen is refrigerated, the following organisms may not be isolated: Streptococcus pneumoniae, H. influenzae.

Test Details
Days Set Up
Analytic Time

Preliminary results are reported in 18-24 hours. Negative cultures are reported after 3 days.

Soft Order Code
  • Aerobic Culture, Respiratory, Gram Stain
  • Aerobic Culture, Sputum, Gram Stain
  • Culture, Sputum, Aerobic, Gram Stain
  • Endotracheal, Aerobic Culture, Gram Stain
  • GSS
  • Respiratory Culture, Aerobic, Gram Stain
  • Respiratory, Aerobic Culture, Gram Stain
  • Tracheal, Aerobic Culture, Gram Stain
  • Aerobic Culture, Respiratory
  • Aerobic Culture, Sputum
  • Culture, Sputum, Aerobic
  • Endotracheal, Aerobic Culture
  • Sputum, Aerobic Culture
  • Respiratory, Aerobic Culture
  • Tracheal, Aerobic Culture
  • RESP
Specimen Requirements
Collection Instructions

Acceptable specimens include expectorated or aspirated sputum, tracheal aspirate, or bronchial aspirate. For expectorated sputum collection, the patient should be instructed to remove dentures, rinse mouth, cough deeply and expectorate sputum into proper container. Be sure the patient understands the difference between sputum and saliva. For optimum recovery, send immediately after specimen collection. If specimen must be stored, refrigerate immediately after specimen collection.

Normal Volume
10 mL sputum
Minimum Volume
2 mL sputum
Storage Temperature
Ambient: No
Refrigerated: Up to 12 hours
Frozen: No
Rejection Criteria
Sputum will be rejected if 10 or more squamous epithelial cells are seen per low power field on gram stain. The nursing station will be called and a new sputum specimen will be requested.
Additional Information

Test includes culture and Gram stain smear (except nasal specimens). Potentially pathogenic organisms will be identified. Test includes susceptibility testing of potentially pathogenic organism(s) at an additional charge unless specifically declined.

CPT Code
87070 Culture, 87205 Gram Stain Smear
Fee Code
32256 RESPG, 32225 GSS