sputum culture container

Posted by ReRE @jcwest211, Sep 12 11:10am

Has anyone heard of a Double-wall container for a Mycobaterium sputum culture. My ID doctor gave me a prescription for a sputum culture for a mycobaterium avium complex MIC panel. I took the sputum culture to Quest last week and they told me it had to be in a double-wall container. I called the ID doctor's office and they said they never heard of that container and my pharmacist didn't know anything about it either. Has anyone been told the same thing for this specific type of culture?

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@jcwest211, Well — neither have heard of a lab requesting that, though they do exist for sending delicate or temperature sensitive specimens and the cups have to be put in special insulated boxes.
Usually the lab provides me with the containers. So, if Quest wants you to submit a specific container, ask them to give you several.
Or maybe they wanted it inside a sealed bag? My lab requires any potentially infectious sample brought in have the specimen container sealed in a zip-loc plastic bag. Not paper. Not tied shut.
What are you planning to do?
Sue

REPLY
@sueinmn

@jcwest211, Well — neither have heard of a lab requesting that, though they do exist for sending delicate or temperature sensitive specimens and the cups have to be put in special insulated boxes.
Usually the lab provides me with the containers. So, if Quest wants you to submit a specific container, ask them to give you several.
Or maybe they wanted it inside a sealed bag? My lab requires any potentially infectious sample brought in have the specimen container sealed in a zip-loc plastic bag. Not paper. Not tied shut.
What are you planning to do?
Sue

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Thanks, Sue
I did ask Quest when I was there to drop of the sputum sample. They did not have that type of container. The lab technician even called her supervisor and the supervisor didn't know anything about it either. I am going to circle back to the ID doctor's office. Thanks for your suggestions.

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@jcwest211

Thanks, Sue
I did ask Quest when I was there to drop of the sputum sample. They did not have that type of container. The lab technician even called her supervisor and the supervisor didn't know anything about it either. I am going to circle back to the ID doctor's office. Thanks for your suggestions.

Jump to this post

If Quest is asking for a double container, they are probably mailing the specimens to another medical lab for culturing. The double container is actually two containers, a primary and a secondary. The capped primary container contains the sputum and is placed in a ziplock bag then goes inside a secondary capped container to prevent spillage. Those two end up in a packaging container for shipping. It is the US postal service regulation. You may want to take your sputum to LabCor. I know for sure they culture NTM at one location only and have internal transfers between their different locations. They will provide you with a sterile cup in a ziplock bag. They do the rest of packaging themselves for internal shipping.
Good luck with your mission. It is not easy to have NTM. It is draining at all levels from physical, emotional and mental exacerbation to locating an expert provider, very few and far in between, to testing. The icing on the cake is treatment. Whether to treat not to treat, airway clearance and sputum cultures are of the essence. Majority of NTM cases are miss-diagnosed or treated. Most cases when finally diagnosed are advanced not because patients don’t have symptoms but because many family practitioners are not educated regarding NTM. Even among pulmonologists and ID providers, very few know how to holistically handle the cases. Some will take on NTM patients to keep their schedules full not because they are experts. Airway clearance is essential especially for Bronchiectasis and NTM, and may be all the patient needs. But, it has to be done with a respiratory physical therapist and using 3, 7 or 10% saline solutions. Many providers will only prescribe antibiotics. Treatment of NTM requires multiple medical professionals working as a team including a medical lab that cultures sputum specimens. Some doctors will subject patients to multiple bronchoscopy procedures to collect samples for culturing if patients are not sputum productive. These are procedures that subject the patients to anesthesia and increase their already compromised lungs to possible infection from the equipment used.
I’m spilling my heart out because I was one of those unfortunate patients who didn’t receive the proper handling by my unknowledgeable providers. I felt lonely, fell into depression and exacerbations worsened. I went from a very active, energetic, athletic person to a couch potato. I had to be my only advocate, read a lot to educate, empower myself. It took a year and a half to finally arrive to NJH for proper treatment. They gave me back hope and confidence that I lost in other providers.
Unfortunately, knowledge is lacking in the US. As much as the media lingers and drills on trivial and irrelevant topics, some time could be dedicated to educate the public on infections with increasing prevalence here and around the world. Advocates are very much needed. As much as I learn from this forum and NTMir, heaven sent, they are not enough. They come into sight only after the damage is done.
My advice to every NTM patient is to find NTM centers working in teams with pulmonary function testing department, respiratory PT, NTM medical lab, imaging department and pharmacy. This lessens the stress on the patient. Remember, majority of NTM cases are mishandled.

REPLY

Sue
Thank you for researching the double wall container required by Quest for the specific MAC lab test my ID doctor prescribed. I so appreciate your feelings about feeling lonely and being depressed. I imagine most people on this forum have shared those same feelings at one point. Thus the appreciation for being able to share our stories here.
Many thanks and I will take your advice.

REPLY
@sue102

If Quest is asking for a double container, they are probably mailing the specimens to another medical lab for culturing. The double container is actually two containers, a primary and a secondary. The capped primary container contains the sputum and is placed in a ziplock bag then goes inside a secondary capped container to prevent spillage. Those two end up in a packaging container for shipping. It is the US postal service regulation. You may want to take your sputum to LabCor. I know for sure they culture NTM at one location only and have internal transfers between their different locations. They will provide you with a sterile cup in a ziplock bag. They do the rest of packaging themselves for internal shipping.
Good luck with your mission. It is not easy to have NTM. It is draining at all levels from physical, emotional and mental exacerbation to locating an expert provider, very few and far in between, to testing. The icing on the cake is treatment. Whether to treat not to treat, airway clearance and sputum cultures are of the essence. Majority of NTM cases are miss-diagnosed or treated. Most cases when finally diagnosed are advanced not because patients don’t have symptoms but because many family practitioners are not educated regarding NTM. Even among pulmonologists and ID providers, very few know how to holistically handle the cases. Some will take on NTM patients to keep their schedules full not because they are experts. Airway clearance is essential especially for Bronchiectasis and NTM, and may be all the patient needs. But, it has to be done with a respiratory physical therapist and using 3, 7 or 10% saline solutions. Many providers will only prescribe antibiotics. Treatment of NTM requires multiple medical professionals working as a team including a medical lab that cultures sputum specimens. Some doctors will subject patients to multiple bronchoscopy procedures to collect samples for culturing if patients are not sputum productive. These are procedures that subject the patients to anesthesia and increase their already compromised lungs to possible infection from the equipment used.
I’m spilling my heart out because I was one of those unfortunate patients who didn’t receive the proper handling by my unknowledgeable providers. I felt lonely, fell into depression and exacerbations worsened. I went from a very active, energetic, athletic person to a couch potato. I had to be my only advocate, read a lot to educate, empower myself. It took a year and a half to finally arrive to NJH for proper treatment. They gave me back hope and confidence that I lost in other providers.
Unfortunately, knowledge is lacking in the US. As much as the media lingers and drills on trivial and irrelevant topics, some time could be dedicated to educate the public on infections with increasing prevalence here and around the world. Advocates are very much needed. As much as I learn from this forum and NTMir, heaven sent, they are not enough. They come into sight only after the damage is done.
My advice to every NTM patient is to find NTM centers working in teams with pulmonary function testing department, respiratory PT, NTM medical lab, imaging department and pharmacy. This lessens the stress on the patient. Remember, majority of NTM cases are mishandled.

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Excellent advice!

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