Catheter Tip Culture

Sunquest Code:CTC  
Epic Code:LAB3414Epic Name:Catheter Tip Culture
Order Instructions:Order CTC for aerobic and ANCT for anaerobic.
Synonyms:Arterial Catheter Tip Culture; Vascular Catheter Tip Culture; Venous Catheter Tip Culture
Methodology:Method of Maki, D.G.
Test Includes:Culture of vascular catheter for aerobic flora. Anaerobic culture performed upon request. Requires anaerobic collection and transportation.
Turnaround Time:Performed 24 hours/day; preliminary results are reported within 24 hours. Negative results are reported within 3 days.
Associated Links:

IDDL (Microbiology/Virology) Collection Container Guidelines

Collection Instructions

Specimen:Catheter, vascular
Optimal Volume:2 inch segment
Container:Plastic leakproof container, sterile
Collection Instructions:Before removing cannula, cleanse skin around insertion site with alcohol wipe to reduce contaminating skin flora and remove any residual antimicrobial ointment. After alcohol dries, carefully withdraw cannula. Submit specimen in sterile container for culture.
  • Short catheters: Using sterile scissors, cut at the former skin surface-catheter junction; culture entire length of cannula.
  • Steel needles: Snap needle off with a sterile hemostat; culture needle.
  • Long catheters: Using sterile scissors, cut 2 inch segments; culture tip and intracutaneous segments.

Transport within 2 hours.


Causes for Rejection:Urinary Foley catheter tips are not cultured

Processing and Shipping

Specimen Processing:Store in refrigerator.
Shipping Instructions:Ship at refrigerated temperature. Must arrive within 24 hours.
Test Performed at or Referral Lab Infectious Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory  (Fairview Range - FRMC, UMMC-East Bank, Grand Itasca GICH)


Reference Range:Fifteen or more colonies growing on a culture plate is regarded as a positive culture, denoting local cannula-related infection. With septic thrombosis of central veins, the tip shows much heavier growth than the proximal segment, a converse pattern to that seen in most uncomplicated cannula-related infections.
Use:Identify all potential pathogens. Indicate source of sepsis, shunt infection, peritonitis, or infected indwelling arterial/venous catheter.

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