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Health Library : Lab Tests & Results Print [PDF]
Browse by the First Letter(s) of the Lab Test
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Bartonella culture

What is this test?

This test detects the presence of a bacteria called Bartonella from blood, skin, lymph node, and other body tissues[1]. It is used to diagnose urban trench fever[2][1][3][4][5][6], endocarditis[7][8][9][10], and cat scratch disease[11][1][12].

What are related tests?

Why do I need this test?

Laboratory tests may be done for many reasons. Tests are performed for routine health screenings or if a disease or toxicity is suspected. Lab tests may be used to determine if a medical condition is improving or worsening. Lab tests may also be used to measure the success or failure of a medication or treatment plan. Lab tests may be ordered for professional or legal reasons. The following are possible reasons why this test may be done:

  • Bacillary angiomatosis
  • Cat scratch fever
  • Culture-negative endocarditis
  • Trench fever

When and how often should I have this test?

When and how often laboratory tests are done may depend on many factors. The timing of laboratory tests may rely on the results or completion of other tests, procedures, or treatments. Lab tests may be performed immediately in an emergency, or tests may be delayed as a condition is treated or monitored. A test may be suggested or become necessary when certain signs or symptoms appear.

Due to changes in the way your body naturally functions through the course of a day, lab tests may need to be performed at a certain time of day. If you have prepared for a test by changing your food or fluid intake, lab tests may be timed in accordance with those changes. Timing of tests may be based on increased and decreased levels of medications, drugs or other substances in the body.

The age or gender of the person being tested may affect when and how often a lab test is required. Chronic or progressive conditions may need ongoing monitoring through the use of lab tests. Conditions that worsen and improve may also need frequent monitoring. Certain tests may be repeated to obtain a series of results, or tests may need to be repeated to confirm or disprove results. Timing and frequency of lab tests may vary if they are performed for professional or legal reasons.

How should I get ready for the test?

Blood:

Before having blood collected, tell the person drawing your blood if you are allergic to latex. Tell the healthcare worker if you have a medical condition or are using a medication or supplement that causes excessive bleeding. Also tell the healthcare worker if you have felt nauseated, lightheaded, or have fainted while having blood drawn in the past.

Skin:

Written consent may be required for a skin biopsy. Review the consent form with the healthcare worker and ask any questions that you have before signing the consent form.

Tell the healthcare worker if you have a medical condition, or are using a medication or supplement that causes excessive bleeding. You should also report if you have a history of allergic or other reactions to local anesthetics.

Fluid/Tissue:

Written consent may be required for a fine needle aspiration biopsy. Review the consent form with the healthcare worker and ask any questions you have before signing the form. Tell the healthcare worker if you have a medical condition or are using a medication or supplement that causes excessive bleeding. You should also report if you have a history of allergic or other reactions to local anesthetics.

Other body fluid or tissue samples:

A different sample other than the samples listed above may be used for this test. Ask your healthcare worker for information about how to prepare for this test. If you have questions or concerns about the preparation for this test, talk to the healthcare worker.

How is the test done?

A sample of blood, skin, lymph nodes, and other body fluid or tissues may be collected for this test.

Blood:

When a blood sample from a vein is needed, a vein in your arm is usually selected. A tourniquet (large rubber strap) may be secured above the vein. The skin over the vein will be cleaned, and a needle will be inserted. You will be asked to hold very still while your blood is collected. Blood will be collected into one or more tubes, and the tourniquet will be removed. When enough blood has been collected, the healthcare worker will take the needle out.

Skin:

Skin tissue biopsies may be collected using the excision, punch, or shave methods. After a biopsy site is selected and cleaned, local anesthetic will be given to numb the area. If excision is done, a scalpel is used to completely remove a skin area such as a growth or lesion. If the punch method is used, a hollow tool is rotated on the sample area to obtain a tiny core of tissue, which is then removed with tweezers. If the shave method is used, only tissue that sticks out above the skin line (such as a growth) will be removed.

Fluid/Tissue:

A fine needle aspiration biopsy is used to collect fluid, or take small tissue samples from a cyst, lump or mass. First, the area over the biopsy site will be cleaned. A local anesthetic may be used to numb the area where the needle will be inserted.

A very tiny needle will be inserted into the area selected for testing. If fluid is present, it will be withdrawn from the area using a syringe. If a tissue sample is required for testing, the needle may be moved back and forth to get enough tissue. When sample collection is complete, the needle will be removed.

Other body fluid or tissue samples:

A different sample other than the samples listed above may be used for this test. Methods used to collect other body fluids or tissue samples may vary. Ask the healthcare worker to explain how this sample may be collected. If you have questions or concerns about this test, talk to the healthcare worker.

How will the test feel?

The amount of discomfort you feel will depend on many factors, including your sensitivity to pain. Communicate how you are feeling with the person doing the procedure. Inform the person doing the procedure if you feel that you cannot continue with the procedure.

Blood:

During a blood draw, you may feel mild discomfort at the location where the blood sample is being collected.

Skin:

Before the skin biopsy, a local anesthetic is given to the procedure site to numb the area. You may feel mild discomfort or stinging when the numbing medicine is injected. After the medication wears off, the biopsy area may be sore for several days.

Fluid/Tissue:

A local anesthetic is used to minimize pain during a fine needle aspiration biopsy. Even when local anesthetic is used, you may feel discomfort or pressure as the needle is inserted and moved during the procedure. After the biopsy, the procedure site may be sore for several days.

Other body fluid or tissue samples:

A different sample other than the samples listed above may be used for this test. This test may feel different depending on many factors, including the sample needed and how it is collected. Ask the healthcare worker what to expect during this test.

What should I do after the test?

Blood:

After a blood sample is collected from your vein, a bandage, cotton ball, or gauze may be placed on the area where the needle was inserted. You may be asked to apply pressure to the area. Avoid strenuous exercise immediately after your blood draw. Contact your healthcare worker if you feel pain or see redness, swelling, or discharge from the puncture site.

Skin:

After a skin biopsy is completed, pressure may be held on the area, and a dressing placed over the biopsy site. If the incision is large or deep, stitches, staples, or adhesive strips may be used to close the biopsy site. Ask for instructions for how to care for the bandage and how to monitor for signs and symptoms of infection. Contact your healthcare worker if you have a fever or increased pain, and if you see redness, swelling, or pus at the procedure site.

Fluid/Tissue:

After a fine needle biopsy, pressure may be held to the site briefly and a small bandage will be placed over the biopsy site. Ask for instructions for when to remove the dressing and how to monitor for signs and symptoms of infection. Contact your healthcare worker if you have a fever or increased pain, and if you see increasing redness, swelling, or pus at the procedure site.

Other body fluid or tissue samples:

A different sample other than the samples listed above may be used for this test. Instructions for what to do after a collection of other body fluid or tissue samples may vary. Ask the healthcare worker to instruct you on what to expect after this test is completed. If you have questions or concerns about what to expect after the test is completed, talk to the healthcare worker.

What are the risks?

Blood: During a blood draw, a hematoma (blood-filled bump under the skin) or slight bleeding from the puncture site may occur. After a blood draw, a bruise or infection may occur at the puncture site. The person doing this test may need to perform it more than once. Talk to your healthcare worker if you have any concerns about the risks of this test.

Skin tissue: A sample of skin tissue is collected by biopsy. Multiple methods and sites may be used for a biopsy. The risks for this procedure will vary depending on the method and location used to collect the sample. However, bleeding and infection are possible risks when having a skin biopsy. If you have medical condition, or are using a medication or supplement that causes excessive bleeding, you are at a higher risk of bleeding during or after this procedure. The person doing this procedure may need to perform it more than once. Talk to your healthcare worker if you have any concerns about the risks of this test.

Fluid/Tissue: A fine needle aspiration biopsy of tissue or fluid may be taken from several different body areas. However, this procedure is usually done on cysts, lumps, or masses. Risks of this procedure vary depending on the site where the sample is taken for this test, and include bleeding, bruising, and infection at the puncture site. If you have a medical condition, or are using a medication or supplement that causes excessive bleeding, you are at a higher risk of bleeding during or after this procedure. The person doing this procedure may need to perform it more than once. Talk to your healthcare worker if you have any concerns about the risks of a fine needle aspiration biopsy.

Other body fluid or tissue samples: A different sample other than the samples listed above may be used for this test. Ask your healthcare worker to explain the risks of this test to you. If you have questions or concerns about this test, talk to the healthcare worker.

What are normal results for this test?

Laboratory test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and many other factors. If your results are different from the results suggested below, this may not mean that you have a disease. Contact your healthcare worker if you have any questions. The following is considered to be a normal result for this test:

  • Adults and children: no growth

What follow up should I do after this test?

Ask your healthcare worker how you will be informed of the test results. You may be asked to call for results, schedule an appointment to discuss results, or notified of results by mail. Follow up care varies depending on many factors related to your test. Sometimes there is no follow up after you have been notified of test results. At other times follow up may be suggested or necessary. Some examples of follow up care include changes to medication or treatment plans, referral to a specialist, more or less frequent monitoring, and additional tests or procedures. Talk with your healthcare worker about any concerns or questions you have regarding follow up care or instructions.

Skin:

After a skin biopsy, healthcare workers may use stitches or staples to close the wound. A return appointment may be necessary to have the stitches or staples removed. Wound care may also be necessary. Ask your healthcare worker for instructions following the skin biopsy.

Other body fluid or tissue samples:

A different sample other than the samples listed above may be collected for this test. Ask the healthcare worker for follow up care instructions after this test.

Where can I get more information?

Related Companies

References

  1. Agan BK & Dolan MJ: Laboratory diagnosis of Bartonella infections. Clin Lab Med 2002; 22:937-962.
  2. Brouqui P, Stein A, Dupont HT, et al: Ectoparasitism and vector-borne diseases in 930 homeless people from Marseilles. Medicine (Baltimore) 2005; 84(1):61-68.
  3. Ohl ME & Spach DH: Bartonella quintana and urban trench fever. Clin Infect Dis 2000; 31(1):131-5.
  4. Brouqui P, Lascola B, Roux V, et al: Chronic Bartonella quintana bacteremia in homeless patients. N Engl J Med 1999; 340(3):184-9.
  5. Jackson LA, Spach DH, Kippen DA, et al: Seroprevalence to Bartonella quintana among patients at a community clinic in downtown Seattle. J Infect Dis 1996; 173(4):1023-6.
  6. Comer JA, Flynn C, Regnery RL, et al: Antibodies to Bartonella species in inner-city intravenous drug users in Baltimore, Md. Arch Intern Med 1996; 156(21):2491-5.
  7. Houpikian P & Raoult D: Diagnostic methods. current best practices and guidelines for identification of difficult-to-culture pathogens in infective endocarditis. Cardiol Clin 2003; 21:207-217.
  8. Lepidi H, Fournier PE, & Raoult D: Quantitative analysis of valvular lesions during Bartonella endocarditis. Am J Clin Pathol 2000; 114(6):880-9.
  9. La Scola B & Raoult D: Culture of Bartonella quintana and Bartonella henselae from human samples: a 5-year experience (1993 to 1998). J Clin Microbiol 1999; 37:1899-1905. Available from URL: http://jcm.asm.org/cgi/content/full/37/6/1899. As accessed February 3, 2005.
  10. Raoult D, Fournier PE, Drancourt M, et al: Diagnosis of 22 new cases of Bartonella endocarditis.. Ann Intern Med 1996; 125:646-652.
  11. Fournier PE, Robson J, Zeaiter Z, et al: Improved culture from lymph nodes of patients with cat scratch disease and genotypic characterization of Bartonella henselae isolates in Australia. J Clin Microbiol 2002; 40(10):3620-4.
  12. Windsor JJ: Cat-scratch disease: epidemiology, aetiology and treatment. Br J Biomed Sci 2001; 58(2):101-10.

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