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Sputum Culture: MedlinePlus Medical Test

What is a sputum tradition?

A sputum tradition is a exam that checks for microorganisms or another type of organism that may well be causing an an infection in your lungs or the airways primary to the lungs. Sputum, also known as phlegm, is a thick type of mucus built in your lungs. If you have an an infection or continual illness affecting the lungs or airways, it can make you cough up sputum.

Sputum is not the similar as spit or saliva. Sputum includes cells from the immune technique that help combat the microorganisms, fungi, or other overseas substances in your lungs or airways. The thickness of sputum can help entice the overseas product. This permits cilia (small hairs) in the airways to force it by way of the mouth and be coughed out.

Sputum can be a single of various different shades. The shades can help recognize the type of an infection you may well have or if a continual illness has grow to be worse:

  • Very clear. This ordinarily suggests no condition is current, but big quantities of apparent sputum may well be a sign of lung condition.
  • White or gray. This may well also be normal, but improved quantities may well suggest lung condition.
  • Darkish yellow or inexperienced. This often suggests a bacterial an infection, this kind of as pneumonia. Yellowish-inexperienced sputum is also frequent in folks with cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited condition that causes mucus to create up in the lungs and other organs.
  • Brown. This often demonstrates up in folks who smoke. It is also a frequent sign of black lung condition. Black lung condition is a really serious situation that can happen if you have very long-phrase exposure to coal dust.
  • Pink. This may well be a sign of pulmonary edema, a situation in which excessive fluid builds up in the lungs. Pulmonary edema is frequent in folks with congestive heart failure.
  • Crimson. This may well be an early sign of lung cancer. It may well also be a sign of a pulmonary embolism, a lifetime-threatening situation in which a blood clot from a leg or other part of the system breaks unfastened and travels to the lungs. If you are coughing up purple or bloody sputum, get in touch with 911 or request fast medical notice.

Other names: respiratory tradition, bacterial sputum tradition, plan sputum tradition