Sputum sample


I have bronchiectasis and the other day I had a very heavy cold and chest/lung pain.

I put in a sample of my sputum to find out what was causing the long pain to my local hospital

expecting to get the result after 48 hrs. (as it has always done), but instead it came back

only after 24 hrs with no bacterium found. I wonder if anyone knows how long sputum samples should be cultivated before there is a result.

Thanks a lot

18 Replies

  • Hi My GP says do not bother with sputum samples because they are not always accurate. First signs of sputum getting darker, pain, I take the Azrithomycin ABS. Everybody is different with Bronchiectasis - I self manage and at the very least he approves of me taking a 3 day course to prevent an infection. Of course, some people are at a worse stage but only you know your body. Trust yourself. KatieJJ

  • Katiejj, I have been in the worst category. Unfortunately < iahd to ask my GP who told me to phone the ambulance because I would receive a quicker response!

    momiji. I fyou feel awful in a day or so, don't hesitate to go to hospital. It's not very great fun to go as others will enjoy christmas, but that may be the best you can do to get treatment. I have been that way and done it!

    If you are ill, it's a long time till the new year. Try to talk to your GP before. If you have a consultant, when you see him'her, ask for some antibiotics like Claroithromysin which is to the lungs to have either on a repeat prescription or in reserve, so you can start medication before having to go though what you are now. sorry, it's not great fun to be ill. I hope you get help soon from doctor, consultant or pulmnary nurse.

  • Ah, sputum samples - the subject nearest and dearest to all bronchiectatic's hearts :) Mine have shown nothing for the last year and a half even though I'm almost constantly ill enough to require antibiotics. The cons now says it's a waste of time and the system will not pay for the type of tests he would need to do to identify the bugs present. He says 'we know there is bacteria present but we can't identify it'. So they try everything until they find something that works. It was Tazacin for a while and this time Meropenem. I do wonder about these tests though as so many people on this forum mention not getting any result. Are the tests used for CF patients more accurate and if so why can't non CF Bronchiectasis people have the same tests ?

  • a very good question argana. The answer is very simple. We are discriminated against because the CFs not only have massive funds behind them but they also have the aah factor and a huge publicity machine. My treatment has now reversed back to the 'suck it and see ' harum scarum taking of antibiotics that I had in the 1970s. There was a time when Stockley at the QE managed to get our sputum tested in the research labs in the lung function testing dept there. Since the govt focus and the money has been poured into COPD we have simply been dumped. We can no longer have our sputum tested by the fantastic people in the research lab in case it 'contaminates' the work being done there. The ordinary labs do not have the time or expertise to isolate the bugs which we get. It is a national scandal. I have been told so many times since I was a child that bronchiectasis is not worth the attention because there are not many of us and that most of us 'drop off the tree' sooner or later. Well they are beginning to discover that there are far more of us than they thought, many having been misdiagnosed for years. It really is time that we managed to get together and demand the attention and standard of treatment that is given to other lung diseases.

  • hi still standing,l agree with all you say.lve had years of being diagnosed with bronchitis,pneumonia,collapsed lung,plurisey,etc,etc,it was not until l turned sixty and retired that l was refered to a specialist who then diagnosed bronchiectasis.he reckons its hereditry.my younger brother has it my nephew has it my sons have been tested for it and are clear.my mother died from it but was always treated for bronchitis.lm now sixty eight and have more and more exacerbations,l believe if l had been diagnosed years ago,l would not be relying so much on medication.we have been "dumped".

  • Agreed 100% fishtail.

  • Hi fishtail. What a dreadful time of mistreatment your family has suffered. Have you been tested for A1A antiptrypsin deficiency? Bronvchiectasis itself is not inherited but other conditions which result in the damage which becomes bronchiectasis can be. 6% of the population are A1A antitrypsin deficient and need specialised treatment. There are a few centres in the UK which are researching into it. One of these is at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. It is a good idea to have the whole family because it can help if younger members and their docs know that they are susceptible to greater lung damage if they get an infection and that most of all they should never smoke. Good luck, insist on getting to a consultant who specialises in bronchiectasis. Most of them claim that they do but my experience over 64 years is of woeful ignorance all round except for a few exceptional centres.

  • yes l have been diagnosed as A1-AD,but receive no "special treatment,just the usual ventolin,seretide,spiriva and "emergency supply of doxycyclin and prednisolone.l find now that my "illness"is getting worse and lm coping less,l very often feel like giving up.

  • yes quite requently we all feel like giving up, especially those of us with bronchiectasis who get the tag end of everything. I hope that your other family members have been tested for A1AD as they can then help to protect their lungs. Have you been intouch with any of the ceb

    ntres where they are researching into it? About12 years ago I was a patient rep on the safety panel for a drug that they were testing for A1AD but sadly they had to stop the trial becausepatients couldn't tolerate the drug. It is a very difficult condition to control which is why I suggest that you research yourself into the best places to get help.

  • yes all my family have been tested,as for any research etc nothing exists where l live or at least lve not been told of any.thanks for your reply though.

  • fishtail

    I get your frustration. I found that through exercises (I'm 65) I have stayed my illness. I don't want to boast, I just want to recommend exercises to get better, because it works. Hang on before you go, here's a sample you can surely do at home. (I'll tal more about other exercises in the new year if you wish)

    Lung exercises:

    I'd start with those every morning.

    Keep the spirit up and have a good Christmas!

  • I agree with you 100% still standing.

  • I have had sputum tests back that have said to be clear of bugs even when discoloured and blood tests show I am fighting an infection. Once I was told that only "normal"bacteria were present which everyone has .

    I think it depends how fresh the sample is too before it is tested.

    Thanks Argana and fibberti for the information too. I have learnt a lot

  • Seems we're all in the same boat here knitter.

  • Hear hear to all of you and very well said. The really infuriating thing about this is that by any standard, listing of symptoms etc., surely everyone with advanced bronchiectasis also suffers from COPD. Bronchiectasis IS a copd by it's very nature and if COPD is measured by spirometry then a person with a FEV in the 30s or 20s, whether their prmary diagnosisis is Bronchiectasis or COPD, must surely be considered to be suffering from both. I know that Bronc is characterised by dilated airways and COPD by narrowed airways but many people have both. I mention this in particular, because despite a FEV that places me in stage 3 Copd, I am refused Pulmonary Rehab because I have Bronc and Pul rehab is only for Copd people. Is this fair ???????

  • I can't tell you what a relief it is to read posts from people who are very angry and sick to death at the blanket coverage of COPD in funding, pathways, drugs and help. As argana said, bronchiectasis is a COPD. What infuriates me most is the fact that the woman who did her PhD in bronchiectasis, worked with us at the Q E in birmingham for years and is one of the few people who truly understands it, went on to become the chief advisor to the government and completely sold us out by obtaining all of the programmes and money for COPD whilst throwing bronchiectasis on the scrap heap. It is awful that not only do we struggle with the debilitatinf effects of this condition but we have no voice. Nobody listens to us and nobody speaks for us.

  • All the while we live in a corrupt society nothing will change, hearts of people have to change.based on stupidity instead of wisdom.

  • All the while we live in a corrupt society nothing will change, hearts of people have to change.based on stupidity instead of wisdom.

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