Page last updated April 2020

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Sputum Smear

Sputum (lung or bronchial secretions) are coughed directly into a collection jar. Avoid collecting saliva.

A variety of observations can be made, including:

  • Viral inclusion bodies
  • Metaplasia associated with:
    • Cigarette smoking
    • Pneumonia
    • Bronchiectasis
    • Tuberculosis
    • Emphysema
  • Degenerative changes
  • Benign Atypia
  • Fungus
  • Parasites
  • Malignancy

Cultures of the sputum can yield identification of microorganisms responsible for pulmonary symptoms

Normal Values*

Sputum Smear 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.