Sputum samples

Anyone know how long sputum samples take to be tested and reported back? Days/weeks??

After 5 weeks of chest infection they've decided to ask for one now that my chest xray showed consolidation. I couldn't manage to provide much though (there's lots in there, it just won't come up, sorry TMI) so I'm not sure how useful it'll be.

Also waiting for CT scan.

18 Replies

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  • Depends what they are testing but 72 hrs should cover most routine testing

  • Thank you for your reply

  • Quantity isn't usually an issue. I'd give it up to a week and then chase the results. Cultivation I believe differs depending on what they may be looking for. Postural drainage may bring you some relief for the time being if you can manage it good luck.

  • Thank you, no idea what postural drainage is but I shall Google it!!

  • Basically finding a position to let gravity help with removing secretions from the lungs. If I have a lot of build up then I find that lying flat on my least affected side helps to get them moving in the right direction. I hope you find this helpful.

  • Thanks I shall give it a go 😊

  • Make sure you are drinking lots to help flush out those nasty bubs, and sleep propped up on as many pillows you feel comfortable with. It can take a week before they get the results, but I understand it can be quicker. At least you will get put on the right antibiotic. Keep drinking the water. Hope you feel better soon. Have you been taught any breathing exercises? These do help shift the gunk.

  • Yes I feel I'm wasting my time with antibiotics at the minute as I'm just taking more of what I had already that didn't work! I'm keen to find the right medication!

    Haven't been taught any breathing exercises no. I will keep at the water though as if I don't drink enough I can feel it blocking up more. First thing in a morning with the central heating is bad coz nothing moves when I cough.

  • The breathing exercise I am thinking of is known as the Active Cycle of Breathing technique.You will see some videos on YouTube about with demonstrations. Hope you get the results quickly.

  • Hi Butterfly. Hope you get the results back soon. It shouldn't be long. Are the steroids and anti-mucus stuff working at all?

  • No improvement yet and not sure if anti mucus stuff making me feel odd? Just didn't feel right after each dose 😣

  • Hi Butterfly; sorry to hear your struggling. I think others have said most of what needs saying, but definitely look up breathing strategies for clearing mucus. Pursed lip breathing is a good one & helped me a lot. Deep breath in, pretend to be blowing out a candle & gently breath out for as long as possible. Eventually you will trigger a cough which helps in clearing mucus from some of the 'hard to reach' bits of your lungs.

    The CT is probably looking for evidence of bronchiectasis at this stage. I went through that a couple of years ago & while I have some issues like that, I ended up being diagnosed with ABPA so you might need to submit repeated sputum samples & probably a few blood tests as well.

  • I shall look into the pursed lip technique too, presumably is a case of trial and error to see what works best and more than one technique can be used?

    Did your diagnosis take a long time to reach? I'm concerned with the amount of time these things take and all the while, potentially more damage is being caused! I haven't heard of ABPA before but the non response to antibiotics and worsening of asthma certainly ring true.

  • The diagnosis did take a long time. Starting from taking a decision to lay it on thick about my deteriorating breathing to the local surgery through to the consultant prescribing the itraconazole (the primary treatment) was probably the best part of 6 months, but in that time I had all sorts of tests.

    Unpicking one thing from another with lungs can be massively complex. The range of infections I had steered them down the bronchiectasis route for a while, but ultimately my ultra high blood test readings for aspergillosis got me on the right path.

    I'm not saying that's what you have as there are countless possibilities, but certainly in my case antibiotics helped the consultant to see the wood for the trees so to speak, but would never have solved my core problem.

  • Wow 6 months! And here's me complaining after 5 weeks!

    I can understand there's a whole host of things it could be, it's just the disjointedness of it all. The fact I haven't had a blood test yet, which if they decide I need one, will add another 2-3 weeks on just to have the blood taken. The wait for CT scan etc. Just frustrating!

  • This is so rubbish for you. I can see how you must be frustrated after 5 weeks. To have to wait even longer while they faff about with various tests will be awful. I wish I could just send a miracle cure for you online. The ABPA thing sounds horrible. I hope it's not that, and sorry Minushabens that you have got it.

    I am not a right lot better either. GP has upped the steroids back to 40mg after steady drops in peak flow and some attacks as the dose dropped, towards hospital level again. Not looking like I am getting off them soon. He is ringing the asthma consultant and will talk to me tomorrow.

    You take care Butterfly. Sputum results must be back by now!

  • Thank you, if you manage a miracle online cure, I'll greatfully recieve it 😁

    Sorry to hear you've had to up your steroids again, but better to keep you safe. Fingers crossed for some useful info for you tomorrow from the consultant.

    I will ring tomorrow morning (have to ring between 9 and 11 or something) to see if they have my results!

  • My posted deleted somehow?!

    Sputum sample came back normal. Advised to continue antibiotics and steroids to end. My peak flow improved to nearly 80% from 65% today but only have 2 more days of steroids. I still have cough and asthma symptoms keep appearing, peak flow dropped again to 70% this afternoon with worsening cough, wheeze and tight chest. Ventolin has eased that though.

    So wait for CT scan...