Blood is a sterile body fluid and the presence of bacteria or fungi in the bloodstream is a serious medical issue. Blood cultures aim to detect the presence of microorganisms in the blood stream. A positive blood culture provides the etiologic agent for identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing, enabling optimization of therapy.

Many factors influence the quality of blood cultures:

  • Suitability of blood culture prescription
  • Volume of blood
  • Aseptic collection
  • Rapid transfer and management of collected bottles
  • Number and type of blood culture bottles collected from the patient

International guidelines provide detailed information on how to culture organisms from blood appropriately.  Several healthcare professionals play a role in the quality of blood culture, notably clinicians, nurses, phlebotomists and lab staff… As a consequence, the overall performance of blood culture testing can only be guaranteed if guidelines and processes are followed precisely across the healthcare team.

As a leader in clinical microbiology, bioMérieux has launched a medical education program to promote good blood culture practices. For this purpose we’ve created a set of educational tools designed to educate labs and members of the healthcare team on best blood culture practices. Educational materials are available in several languages in a number of formats, for example, PowerPoint slide decks, e-learnings, booklets, posters, flyers, videos… This program is deployed by local bioMérieux teams in partnership with clinical lab managers.

The following materials can be accessed online using the following links:

Site-specific quality indicators (e.g. number of blood cultures/1,000 patient-days, blood volume, contamination rate…) are monitored on a regular basis to measure the impact of this training with focus on the benefit to patients. To date, significant improvements have been observed at trained sites in 15 countries. We will enroll more labs and countries in the months to come.