Page last updated October 2018

This is a FREE resource designed to support the medical profession in their care of women made possible by over 750 expert clinicians who are generously providing their contributions without any remuneration and by the publishers who have paid personally for the creation of this site in the memory of their daughter, Abigail.

Current Authors

Blood Cultures

Blood cultures are used to assist in diagnosis of:
  • Fever of unknown origin
  • Sepsis
  • Shock
  • Chills/fever

Particular care is taken to avoid skin bacterial contamination when blood cultures are drawn:

  • Cleanse the skin with povidone-iodine or alcohol prior to venipuncture
  • After the blood is drawn, discard the needle and replace it with a fresh, sterile needle before injecting the blood into the culture tube
  • Cleanse the rubber stoppers on the culture tubes with povidone-iodine or alcohol prior to placing the blood into the tubes

Blood cultures are most likely to be positive for organisms during a temperature spike.

Normal Values*

Blood Culture Negative 

*These are general values taken from a variety of sources. The actual normal values may vary from lab to lab and from one type of testing protocol to another.

Source: Operational Medicine 2001,  Health Care in Military Settings, NAVMED P-5139, May 1, 2001, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Department of the Navy, 2300 E Street NW, Washington DC, 20372-5300