To help assure result validity, the following collection procedure must be observed:

  • Cleanse the venipuncture site with a 70% alcohol swab.
  • Wipe the site with iodine by starting at the center and working outward with a circular motion. (Note: If patient is allergic to iodine, use an additional clean alcohol swab in place of the iodine swab).
  • Allow the site to air dry for at least one minute before venipuncture.
  • Clean the top of the rubber stopper on the blood culture bottle with alcohol.
  • A syringe must be used for collection. After collection, inject blood into blood culture bottles.


For cultures on adults, use one Bactec™ aerobic bottle (grey-top, inoculate with 8-10 mL) and one Bactec™ anaerobic bottle (yellow-top, and inoculate with 5-7 mL). The minimum amount of blood for each bottle is 3ml. If less than 6ml of blood is obtained, place the entire amount into the grey-top (Aerobic) bottle.

For cultures on children, Bactec™ pediatric bottles (pink-top) are available which require 1-3 mL. Transport promptly at room temperature. Bactec™ blood culture bottles are available upon request from the Supply Department.

  • Label each vial with the patient's full name (first and last), date of birth, date of collection, time of collection and specific body site (e.g., right arm).