Blood culture

A blood culture is a test on a sample of blood to check for bacteria in the bloodstream; it may be done if a doctor suspects a blood infection. A blood culture may be helpful in determining the specific bacteria causing an infection and selecting the appropriate antibiotic to treat it.

Usually a blood culture is needed only if a person is severely ill. Blood cultures are commonly done when a person has a high fever or shaking chills that indicate there may be bacteria in the blood.

It usually takes between 1 and 3 days to get the results of a blood culture; however, it can take as long as 7 to 10 days.

Last Updated: September 12, 2008

Author: Caroline Rea, RN, BS, MS

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Joseph O'Donnell, MD - Hematology/Oncology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.