Document Type



Pathology and Microbiology; Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Objective: To assess the strategies and outcome for reducing blood culture contamination in order to improve the diagnosis of bacteraemia.
Methods: The interventional study was conducted at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2016. The blood culture contamination data related to the first year of the study was taken as the baseline pre-intervention data. Strategies were planned as intervention for improvement by consolidating training and education in the form of dedicated lectures, practising on mannequins and developing in-house video, replacing povidone with 2% chlorhexidine preparation spray plus 70% isopropyl alcohol swabs and inducting dedicated phlebotomy team whose only responsibility was blood sample collection and minimising the probability of error.
Results: In 2013, there were 8868 samples; 7402 in 2014; 6897 in 2015; and 9756 samples in 2016. The contamination rate in 2013 was 8% which went down to 7.75% in 2014, 4.25% in 2015 and 3.9% in 2016. The decline became statistically significant (p<0.001) after implementing a dedicated phlebotomy team in the emergency department.
Conclusions: Apart from teaching and training, the concept of blood culture collection kit with checklist and dedicated blood collection team was found to be vital in reducing blood culture contamination.


JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association