Overview of Culture Urine
What is Culture Urine?
Why is Culture Urine done?
· To detect and diagnose a urinary tract infection (UTI)
· To screen for urinary tract infections in the first trimester of pregnancy
· As a part of routine health checkups
What does Culture Urine Measure?
The culture urine test is performed to detect and diagnose a microbial infection of the urinary tract. The metabolic processes in the body produce products called metabolites which are present in the blood. Some of them are utilized by cells, while others are wastes which are filtered out of the blood by the kidneys in urine. Urine produced by the kidneys pass through ureters into the urinary bladder where it is stored until the urinary bladder is full. Once full, the urinary bladder releases the urine through another tube called urethra to the outside of the body. The pathway followed by urine from the kidneys to the outside is called the urinary tract. The urinary tract may be infected by some microorganisms causing various conditions. Urine is normally sterile, but if urinary tract infection occurs, the pathogenic microorganism may be found in urine. A urine sample is collected and cultured to detect such an infection and to identify the microorganism causing it.
The collected urine sample is placed on an agar medium (nutrient solution mixed with agarose gel) and incubated at body temperature for 24 to 48 hours. This allows growth of the microorganisms in the sample if any. Growing microorganisms form different types of colonies on the agar which are studied further in a laboratory to determine the exact microbe causing the UTI.
Once the pathogen is identified, antibiotic susceptibility test is performed to guide treatment for the UTI being tested for. This may be done by two ways. The conventional method involves the use of small filter paper discs with antibiotic of known concentration and placing them on agar plate where the pathogen is cultured. The antibiotic creates a small area around the discs where the microorganisms do not form colonies. The radius of this zone is measured to estimate the efficacy and strength of that antibiotic in treating the UTI. The other method involves an automated machine to detect the sensitivity pattern to find out which antibiotic can be used to treat the infection.
Preparation for Culture Urine
- Collect the Urine Sample in a sterile container available from the lab or any pharmacy. Allow a small stream of urine to flow by and then carefully hold the cup under urine. Make sure the cup doesn’t come in contact with your skin.
Sample Type for Culture Urine
Interpreting Culture Urine results
Negative result: No colonies to less than 1,00,000 CFU/ml (Colony Forming Units)
· Usually more than 1,00,000 CFU/ml
· Patient undergoing antibiotic treatment: More than 1,000 CFU/ml
· For gram-positive bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus: Single colony
The negative result indicates no infection of the urinary tract.
The positive result indicates an infection of the urinary tract. The positive result is accompanied by an antibiotic susceptibility test.
In an uncontaminated sample, only a single type of colony is found and indicates a clinically significant positive result. However, if multiple colonies of different types are found, a sample contamination is indicated and the sample may need to be collected again.
Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Culture Urine
Frequently Asked Questions about Culture Urine