Can I put sputum sample in fridge? - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation

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Can I put sputum sample in fridge?


I have COPD but very rarely produce mucous so providing a sample is very difficult (even when I have an infection and producing mucous I find it very hard).

I saw my GP recently as I was having more difficulty than normal with my breathing. I have no infection so she thought it was inflammation of the airways and prescribed Seretide to add to my Spiriva. I've now had the Seretide reduced with a view to coming off it eventually.

I do have Pseudomonas in my lungs but it's not a problem at the moment. However, she wants a sputum sample to check it - she's new to the practice and has not seen me before.

On very rare occasions I do have a little mucous take me by surprise and am able to cough it up. As I can't do it on command (and I've tried all the tricks, I just can't do it), if I do manage to bring up and collect a sample and it's too late for it to be collected from the surgery, can I put it in the fridge and take to the surgery the next day? Or should I leave it out of the fridge?

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7 Replies

I do .. sure my doc said i could as i have troble sometimes

Had bit lung this time with mine BE Surprise For Doc lucky a dont cough up lung

all time

Am waiting to see if the say out usaly the dont

Hi SeasideSusie. My Husband would keep it in the fridge till the next morning but no later. Hope that helps. X

Thanks both. Hopefully I'll catch a sample soon and if I can't get to the surgery in time for the collection then I'll pop it in the fridge.

The advice here is fresh as possible, on the morning of handing it in for example, huff x

I appreciate your difficulty in producing a sample (not a problem I have fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it). Although you could put it in the fridge, it would be much better to either get it down directly to the lab. If however, you do not do your own microbiology forms you might want to check with your surgery what times the samples are collected - I always get them down as near to this time as possible as the samples do start to deteriorate within a few hours. (Shame they don't die off as quickly and easily in the body)! As I say I appreciate this is a problem for you.


Hi Susie, I too have this problem. I find (and you have probably tried this already, apologies if you have) that first thing in the morning after getting out of bed I use my Peak Flow machine which loosens the phlegm and I am able to cough up any that has been lying on my chest during the night. I have Bronchiectasis so every infection needs to be checked at the lab. Getting the sample to the surgery (in my case before 1pm) is crucial as the fresher the better. It does not have to be a large amount. The last sample I took in was just white froth and I thought nothing would come of it, wrong, I have a really aggressive infection which took 3 weeks and lots of antibiotics and steroids to kill off. Sorry if this has not been of any help. Take care Maximonkey

Evatara in reply to Maximonkey

Thank you, its a big help, i stored my spetum from morning to till 4 pm to collect a significant amout according to me. I did not even know a little amount would be enough, i regrect for not reading for the information here.

Thanks again for sharing ur excuse experience

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