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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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Cytomegalovirus culture

What is this test?

This test detects a type of virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV) from a culture of certain body fluids.This test is used to diagnose suspected CMV infections[1][2][3]. It also helps diagnose a CMV infection in pregnant patients[4][1][5]. A sample of urine, blood,[2], amniotic fluid[1][4] or other body fluid or tissue[2] may be collected for this test.

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:

  • CMV infection - Cytomegalovirus infection

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.

If a urine sample is collected for this test, it may need to be repeated over consecutive days[6][7].

How should I get ready for the test?

Clean urine:

To prepare for giving a urine sample, be sure to drink enough fluids before the test, unless you have been given other instructions. Try not to empty your bladder before the test.

Venous 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.

Amniotic fluid:

An amniocentesis is a procedure that requires your written consent. Review the consent form with the healthcare worker and ask any questions that you have before signing the consent form. Tell the person doing the amniocentesis if you have a history of pregnancy difficulties, such as premature (early) labor, incompetent cervix (a weak or failing cervix), placenta previa (a placenta that is abnormally low, near or over the cervix), abruptio placentae (the placenta is separated from the uterine wall too early), and if you are Rh negative (had a blood type that did not match your child's blood type). 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. If ultrasound is used, you will need to drink extra fluids and have a full bladder for the procedure.

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 urine, blood, amniotic fluid, or other body fluid or tissue samples may be collected for this test.

Clean urine:

Immediately before a test that requires a clean urine sample, males must clean, rinse, and dry the head of the penis. Females must clean, rinse, and dry the urethral area. As you begin urinating, allow a small amount of urine to go into the toilet, and then stop the urine stream. Position the container to collect your urine, and urinate into the container. Remove the container when it has a sufficient amount of urine in it, and finish urinating into the toilet.

The urine sample may also be collected from a urinary catheter. If a catheter is present, the healthcare worker will collect urine from the catheter for testing. If there is no catheter present, a catheter may need to be inserted temporarily to collect the sample. The area will be cleaned, and a sterile catheter will be inserted into your urethra. Urine will drain from the catheter into a container for the test. When sufficient urine has been collected, the catheter will be removed. A special bag may be used to collect a urine sample from an infant.

Venous 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.

Amniotic fluid:

Amniotic fluid is the protective liquid that surrounds the unborn baby while it is in the mother’s womb. A sample of this fluid is collected by a procedure called an amniocentesis. For an amniocentesis, you will lie on your back with your legs extended. You may be asked to raise your arms above your head. Usually, an ultrasound will be done at the same time as the amniocentesis. The ultrasound is used to locate your unborn baby, the placenta, and a pocket of amniotic fluid that is suitable for testing. The point selected for needle insertion will be away from your baby and the placenta.

An area of skin on your abdomen will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution, and a sterile area prepared. You will be given anesthetic to numb your skin. When the area is numb, a needle will be introduced through your skin and into the amniotic sac (the protective sac that surrounds the unborn baby). Using ultrasound as a guide for needle placement, a small amount of amniotic fluid will be withdrawn and thrown away, and then the sample of fluid will be collected.

When enough fluid has been collected, the needle will be withdrawn. More than one needle and syringe may be needed to collect the sample. If your unborn baby moves toward the needle during the procedure, the needle will be withdrawn and the procedure may need to be repeated.

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 test. Inform the person doing the test if you feel that you cannot continue with the test.

Clean urine:

There is usually no pain experienced when a clean-catch urine sample is given or when the sample is taken from an existing urinary catheter. If an intermittent (temporary) catheter is used to obtain the sample, you may feel some discomfort.

Venous blood:

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

Amniotic fluid:

Before an amniocentesis, 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. As the procedure needle is inserted through the abdomen, you may feel some discomfort and pressure. You may feel mild cramping in your abdomen and pelvic area during the procedure. 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?

Clean urine:

After collecting a urine sample, close the container if it has a lid. Place the container where the healthcare worker asked you to put it. Clean your hands with soap and water.

Venous 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.

Amniotic fluid:

After an amniocentesis, a bandage will be placed over the site, and pressure applied until the bleeding or drainage has stopped. Rest is necessary. Do not have sexual intercourse, and avoid heavy lifting for at least 24 hours after the procedure.

Contact your healthcare worker if there is redness, swelling, pus, drainage, or pain at the site where the amniotic fluid sample was taken. Alert your healthcare worker immediately if you see bleeding or clear fluid leaking from your vagina, feel severe cramping in your abdominal or pelvic area, or develop a fever. Inform healthcare workers of any change in your baby's movement, such as not moving for a period of time, or suddenly moving more than usual after this procedure.

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?

Clean urine: There are several different ways that may be used to collect a sample of clean urine. Urine may be collected by urinating in a cup using the clean-catch technique, or by collecting urine from an existing urinary catheter. Generally, there are no risks when collecting a clean urine sample using either of these methods. Another way to collect a clean urine sample is by inserting a temporary urinary catheter. Risks of using this method include bleeding, infection, catheter misplacement, and damage to the urethra or bladder. 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. 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 clean urine collection.

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.

Amniotic Fluid: Amniotic fluid is collected by a procedure called an amniocentesis. During an amniocentesis a hematoma (blood-filled bump under the skin) or bleeding at the puncture site may occur. 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 from the puncture site. It is possible that the needle that is used to collect fluid will injure your baby. After an amniocentesis, a bruise or infection may occur at the puncture site. You may bleed or leak amniotic fluid from the vagina. Rarely, you may develop a fever, have severe abdominal and pelvic cramping, or go into labor. There is a risk that your baby will not survive the procedure. The chances of these risks vary depending on your health status, the reason for having this procedure, and other factors. The person doing this test may need to perform it more than once. Talk with your healthcare worker if you have any concerns about the risks of having an amniocentesis.

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: Negative 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.

Amniotic fluid:

After an amniocentesis, results are usually available within 7 to 10 days.

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. Revello MG & Gerna G: Diagnosis and management of human cytomegalovirus infection in the mother, fetus, and newborn infant. Clin Microbiol Rev 2002; 15(4):680-715.
  2. Miller MJ, Bovey S, Pado K, et al: Application of PCR to multiple specimen types for diagnosis of cytomegalovirus infection: comparison with cell culture and shell vial assay. J Clin Microbiol 1994; 32(1):5-10.
  3. Paya CV, Wold AD, & Smith TF: Detection of cytomegalovirus infections in specimens other than urine by the shell vial assay and conventional tube cell cultures. J Clin Microbiol 1987; 25(5):755-7.
  4. Lipitz S, Achiron R, Zalel Y, et al: Outcome of pregnancies with vertical transmission of primary cytomegalovirus infection. Obstet Gynecol 2002; 100(3):428-33.
  5. Warren WP, Balcarek K, Smith R, et al: Comparison of rapid methods of detection of cytomegalovirus in saliva with virus isolation in tissue culture. J Clin Microbiol 1992; 30:786-789.
  6. Henry JB (Ed): Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods, Twentieth. W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, PA, USA, 2001.
  7. Tietz NW (Ed): Clinical Guide to Laboratory Tests, 3rd ed. W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia, PA, 1995.

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