Bronchiectasis - started antibiotics ... - British Lung Foun...

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Bronchiectasis - started antibiotics without new sputum sample

LolaEs profile image

Hi there

I am on antibiotics again but saw a less experienced doctor who didn't really think a sputum sample was necessary. I have had a hacking cough for a week and a lot of lung pain but the sputum sample from last week was inconclusive. I am wondering if I have a chest infection but started them as am in pain. Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking and started taking the antibiotics without doing the sample. If I give a new sample tomorrow having taken one antibiotic will it affect the sample?

Thank you!

9 Replies

Hi Lola. It's less likely the sample will grow anything, because the antibiotics (depending how many you've had) will have killed off some of the bugs, but it's still worth doing in case the bacteria aren't sensitive to that particular drug. It quite often happens that you can't get a sample in at the right time, eg if the lab is closed. Sometimes it won't grow anything anyway, if the sample isn't fresh or is left sitting about for hours before being cultured. I hope the drugs work & you soon feel better.

LolaEs profile image
LolaEs in reply to Hanne62

Brilliant! Thanks for your answer. That helps a lot

Oh, forgot to say - not all bugs grow in a week, some less common ones take several weeks, so an inconclusive result from last week doesn't necessarily mean a great deal. I had a sample last month which grew one thing after a week, but 2 weeks after that I got a call to say it had grown something else too!

LolaEs profile image
LolaEs in reply to Hanne62

Well, they thought it was something which could have been airborne so wanted to retest me. i was initially surprised as I just thought the cough was exercise related but then I felt a bit shivers and headachy. I'm a little worried about being on these pills again as I have had them twice since I had pneumonia in June. I wonder if this is definitely a chest infection but want to be free of the pain and the cough. Anyway, thanks again

Hi I have bronchiectasis with constant chest infections take a sample in and state what drug you have taken and how many. This will be fine. I’m forever doing it.

LolaEs profile image
LolaEs in reply to Armadillo57

Thank you. I hope you feel better soon

Hi Lola, I recently became ill during a flight home and it was Saturday so I had to begin taking my emergency supply of antibiotics. On the Monday I saw the doc who took a sample and sent it off to the lab. I queried this as I too had been told the sputum sample should be taken before taking antibiotics but the doc said if there is bacteria in the sample we need to know. Fortunately there was no bacteria but it was a very nasty bug as here I am three weeks later still taking steroids and not feeling particularly strong. Take care. Maximonkey

LolaEs profile image
LolaEs in reply to Maximonkey

Thanks for sharing. I'm sorry to hear you have been so ill. I wonder if this is just a horrible cough or if I need antibiotics? My doctor told me today's email that ideally as sample should be taken before antibiotics but a test can still be done as the sample may not respond to these antibiotics. Look after yourself too

Maximonkey profile image
Maximonkey in reply to LolaEs

Thanks Lola, hope you too are better soon. Take care Maximonkey

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