Timing of specimen collection for blood cultures from febrile patients with bacteremia

Stefan Riedel, Paul Bourbeau, Brandi Swartz, Steven Brecher, Karen C Carroll, Paul D Stamper, W Michael Dunne, Timothy McCardle, Nathan Walk, Kristin Fiebelkorn, David Sewell, Sandra S Richter, Susan Beekmann, Gary V Doern
Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2008, 46 (4): 1381-5
Bloodstream infections are an important cause of morbidity and mortality. Physician orders for blood cultures often specify that blood specimens be collected at or around the time of a temperature elevation, presumably as a means of enhancing the likelihood of detecting significant bacteremia. In a multicenter study, which utilized retrospective patient chart reviews as a means of collecting data, we evaluated the timing of blood culture collection in relation to temperature elevations in 1,436 patients with bacteremia and fungemia. The likelihood of documenting bloodstream infections was not significantly enhanced by collecting blood specimens for culture at the time that patients experienced temperature spikes. A subset analysis based on patient age, gender, white blood cell count and specific cause of bacteremia generally also failed to reveal any associations.

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