Bronchoscopic culture is a laboratory exam to check a piece of tissue or fluid from the lungs for infection-causing germs.
How the Test is Performed
The sample is sent to a laboratory. There, it is placed in a special dish (culture). It is then watched to see if bacteria or other disease-causing germs grow. Treatment is based on the results of the culture.
How to Prepare for the Test
Follow your health care provider's instructions on how to prepare for bronchoscopy.
How the Test will Feel
Your provider will tell you what to expect during bronchoscopy.
Why the Test is Performed
No organisms are seen on the culture.
What Abnormal Results Mean
Abnormal culture results usually indicate a respiratory infection. The infection may be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, mycobacteria, or fungi. The results of the culture will help determine the best treatment.
Not all organisms found with bronchoscopic culture need to be treated. Your provider will tell you more about this, after taking into account a lot of information to determine if treatment is needed.
Your provider can discuss the risks of the bronchoscopy procedure with you.
Culture - bronchoscopic
Beamer S, Jaroszewski DE, Viggiano RW, Smith ML. Optimal processing of diagnostic lung specimens. In: Leslie KO, Wick MR, eds. Practical Pulmonary Pathology: A Diagnostic Approach. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 3.
Kupeli E, Mehta AC. Diagnostic bronchoscopy: basic techniques. In: Broaddus VC, Ernst JD, King TE, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 26.
Review Date 12/6/2021
Updated by: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron, Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.