Annals of Clinical Microbiology, The official Journal of the Korean Society of Clinical Microbiology


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Indexed in KCI, KoreaMed, Synapse, DOAJ
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pISSN 2288-0585 eISSN 2288-6850

Compliance with Blood Volumes Collected for Blood Cultures between Physicians and Phlebotomists

Original article

Annals of Clinical Microbiology (Ann Clin Microbiol) 2013 June, Volume 16, Issue 2, pages 81-86.

Compliance with Blood Volumes Collected for Blood Cultures between Physicians and Phlebotomists

Eun-ha Koh1, Sunjoo Kim1, Dong-hyun Lee1, Seong Chun Kim2
Departments of 1Laboratory Medicine, and 2Emergency Medicine and Gyeongsang Institute of Health Sciences, Gyeongsang National University School of Medicine, Jinju, Korea


Background: Blood culture is essential for the diagnosis and management of bloodstream infections. Blood volume is a key parameter determining the success of blood cultures. Studies comparing compliance between physicians and phlebotomists regarding optimal blood culture procedure are very rare in Korea. 

Methods: After educating physicians (interns) and phlebotomists about the correct procedure for blood culturing, the blood volumes of forty-three percent of randomly selected aerobic and anaerobic culture sets for adult patients (≥18 years old) were compared between these two groups over a period of three months. Physicians obtained blood from all admitted patients except those in the emergency department, where phlebotomists performed blood collection. 

Results: The numbers of blood culture sets requested during the study period were 3,238 and 2,136 for the physician and phlebotomist groups, respectively. The blood volumes of blood culture sets were significantly higher for the phlebotomists (16.7 mL) than for the physicians (9.2 mL). The positive rate of blood culture was also higher for the phlebotomist group (10.3% vs. 7.9%). The contamination rates (0.8%) were the same for both groups. 

Conclusion: Although the patients’ medical conditions, antibiotics prescriptions, or duration of hospitalization may have affected the positive rate of blood cultures, this rate might also have been influenced by the blood volume. The compliance of phlebotomists was greater than that of physicians regarding the blood volume collected for blood cultures. (Ann Clin Microbiol 2013;16:81-86)


Blood culture, Bloodstream infection, Blood volume, Compliance, Quality improvement