Blood culture surveillance (Pathology North)- contamination and double set culture rates

Contamination (e.g. with Coagulase negative staphylococci)

Across the HNE LHD, the blood culture contamination rate was 2.3% (range 1.2-4.6%) which was satisfactory (below 3%).

This is the current list of potential contaminant organisms (HNELHD) NHSN potential contaminant species list augmented by Pathology North: for a positive culture (any principal source) with one of these species to be accorded significance, there has to be isolation of the same species in at least 2 sets of cultures collected within 1 calendar day.

Double set culture rate 

Potentially septic, non-neonatal, patients who present to hospital or are inpatients are expected to have at least two separately collected blood culture sets (20mL each adult set) taken prior to antibiotic treatment.  Using a second culture within 1 day of the first, the overall rate for double set or greater was 42% in 2017 (range 12-58%). For EDs, the rate was 39% (range 11-55%). For Intensive Care Units the rate was 38.8% (range 35-48%).

Detailed analyses: 2017 blood culture analyses Path North.

For updated neonatal, paediatric and adult blood culture sampling guidelines, please see the CEC Sepsis Kills Resource page.

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