Quick question about sputum sample

Didn't want this to get lost in my other thread so thought I'd start a new one.

I find it very difficult to do a sputum sample and need one for tomorrow to follow up ABs for a pseudomonas infection. Didn't think I'd manage to do it but whilst bending down doing a little job in the kitchen the opportunity arose (OK - you probably didn't need to know that LOL!).

Anyway, I did manage to collect a small sample in the pot but there's a fair bit of saliva in with it too. Does this matter? I've not got a spare pot to try again.

You can probably tell I've done very very few samples!

18 Replies

  • Sorry that I cannot advise. I NEVER manage a sample, lol. x

  • LOL! I'm glad someone understands. Dr insisting on a sample, told him there's still something there following the ABs for the pseudomonas infection but he wont give me any more until a sample's been tested. Told him I have a mental block about it and find it almost impossible and he told me to have a curry LOL! Said it works for some people.

  • Thanks Pergola, no food in it so it should be alright then.

    I'd tried the deep coughing but nothing was helping at all, just happened I was bending right over and it's about the only thing that's ever worked for me.

    I don't have a mucousy cough or anything, it's just a small thick plug of mucous that's still there following the ABs, so even though I have a mental block regarding coughing it up this was doubly difficult as no cough and nothing loose to fetch up.

  • Hi SS, Hard exercise does it for me, gets the lungs pumping and brings up the mucus quite well normally. This is one of the main reasons for my exercise routines, to keep my lungs as clear as possible.


  • Hi Suzie

    Sorry to say if you did a sputum sample today it won't be of any use to be cultured tomorrow - the bugs just won't last that long. Always best to do a sample shortly before the van leaves the GPs for the lab - obviously not an easy thing to do in your case hun.

    dall's idea is good - excercise always helps. You could try laying over a few pillows on the bed for a while on either side - using gravity to try and drain or loosen any mucus you may have. Could try huffing - active cycle of breathing nnuh.nhs.uk/docs%5Cdocument...

    Do you have a flutter or an acapella at all - that may help.

    Drinking lots may help.

    Sorry if I'm not much help hun, never had this problem, quite the reverse, any time, any place, anywhere.

    Good luck.

    love cx

  • Agree with you cofdrop. Sample needs to be fresh (no-one ever tells you that!). I am 'lucky'?? and can always produce at the surgery. Drinking water may help, don't try after a full meal!, acapella good for me, relaxed acb, cupping/clapping your side whilst relax breathing, having a hot shower with deep breathing (not recommended for producing in surgery!!), or a steamy inhalation (not boiling water), taking ventalin before trying to open airways.

    Good luck.

  • Well, it would be an enormous help if they told you this wouldn't it (need a raised eyes icon here!). Geez, are we supposed to be mind readers?

    I'll drop it into the surgery in the morning and tell the receptionist I did it today and I'll bring another sample pot home with me.

    On the other hand, my last sample (which confirmed the Pseudomonas) was done on a Monday morning, given to the nurse in the afternoon at 2pm when I had a COPD check and flu jab, and was picked up around mid-day on the Tuesday and they got the result from that one. Nurse never said anything.

    Anyway, I'll see what happens. If they say the sample is OK I'll ring up at the end of the week to see what they say. I can always discuss it with my own Dr as I have a telephone appt with her the week after for a different matter. I'll clarify with her about timing and maybe suggest it might be an idea to let patients know if it needs to be taken in the same morning to catch the van.

    I don't have any devices to help, don't have any mucous to clear normally.

  • I'm another one who can't produce a sample, even after half an hour on a saline nebuliser all that happened was dry shriveled up lips! :-) I have found recently though if I growl and try and take the growl low down back into may throat, as though you're being sick I MAY produce a little. The sound is truly disgusting though. Sorry, it's hard to explain the actions! But have ago, who knows? Sadie

  • I have never supplied my Dr or Consultant with a sputum sample. They both know it is something I have not had any success with. No matter how bad my chest is at times I just can't cough up any sputum.

    As for a culture test to check I am taking the correct Antibiotic, well it is a no go so any antibiotic is just pot luck I am afraid!!!


  • hi dangirl try getting a prescription for a thing called a flutter i can guantee it will work or if not when you feel as if you going to cough close your mouth and huff out it will help

  • I've seen it mentioned a lot but I don't actually know what huffing means or how to do it.

  • yes what u do is slighhly cose mouth then as if your blowing up a ballon but with mouth still closed blow and blow gently until you feel that you must couhgh try it it will work and definetly the flutter would not be without mine

  • This is from the CF Foundation Susie

    Airway Clearance Techniques

    Coughing is the most basic ACT. It is a reflex. It clears mucus with high-speed airflow. But sometimes mucus cannot be cleared just with a lot of coughing. Coughing a lot can make you feel more short of breath and worse, not better. Huffing is a type of cough. It also involves taking a breath in and actively exhaling. It is more like “huffing” onto a mirror or window to steam it up. It is not as forceful as a cough but can work better and be less tiring.

  • From what I've learnt over the last day or so Pseudomonas infection is very hard to eradicate, if at all, and there's only one or two ABs that will help in any way. Dr wants a sample to test to see if further ABs re required as I still feel there's something there that wasn't before. I can understand him not wanting to repeat Ciprofloxacin if there's no real need.

    Sorry, meant this reply to go to Dangirl's comment.

  • Hi Susie, sometimes I'm caught unawares by a massive sneeze. Something comes up when I'm least expecting it and not prepared with a pot!

    Using/sprinkling chilli pepper or old fashioned white, powdery pepper can give you a big sneeze. (sorry if it sounds nuts but it works for me and as I think I've got a bug i shall carry a little pot or 2). Good luck to you though, I hope you can manage it xxx

  • I blow every day through a straw in a bottle of water .... always help me bring up mucus ... so I would do this with sputum bottle to hand

  • That's novel Julie, I'll give that a try next time :-) .

  • Well I took my sample in this morning, spoke to receptionist and said I understood that samples should be done on the day it goes to the lab but mine was done yesterday. She said any sample should be "as fresh as possible" but "if there's any germs in there I'm sure they'll be found". I doubt they'll ring me by the end of the week, they're not that quick on the mark at reviewing tests and contacting patients, but I have my telephone appt with my own Dr next Monday for something else so I will make a point of asking for the result and asking her opinion of when samples should be produced.

    I also asked about microbiology forms and was told the nurse sorts those out before the samples go off in the van - glad I got that cleared up :-) .

You may also like...