Description: A Urine Culture test is a test that is used to identify bacteria or foreign organisms in urine and test for antibiotic susceptibilities.
Also Known As: Culture Urine Routine, Urine Culture and Sensitivity, Urine C and S, UTI test
Collection Method: Urine Collection
Specimen Type: Urine
Test Preparation: No preparation required
IMPORTANT - Culture, Urine, Routine #395 can Reflex to additional testing and charges, detailed below, if Culture is positive.
If culture is positive, CPT code(s): 87088 (each isolate) will be added with an additional charge. Identification will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 87077 or 87140 or 87143 or 87147 or 87149).
Antibiotic susceptibilities are only performed when appropriate (CPT code(s): 87181 or 87184 or 87185 or 87186).
- ORG ID 1. $ 12.45
- ORG ID 2. $ 23.95
- PRESUMPTIVE ID 1. $ 12.45
- PRESUMPTIVE ID 2. $ 23.95
- SUSC-1 $14.95
- SUSC-2 $28.95
When is a Urine Culture test ordered?
A urine culture may be requested if a person exhibits symptoms that suggest a urinary tract infection, such as:
- Urination urges that are strong and persistent
- Urination with a burning sensation
- Urine that is murky and has a strong odor
- Back pain in the lower back
Urinary tract infections can cause pressure in the lower abdomen as well as small quantities of blood in the urine. If the UTI is severe and/or has gone to the kidneys, it can cause symptoms such as flank pain, high fever, trembling, chills, nausea, and vomiting.
For young women with signs or symptoms of a UTI and an uncomplicated lower urinary tract infection, antibiotics may be administered without obtaining a urine culture. A urine culture is advised if there is a suspicion of a complex infection or if symptoms do not respond to first treatment.
Pregnant women without symptoms should be examined for bacteria in their urine during their first trimester or first prenatal appointment, as bacteria in the urine can harm the growing baby's health.
A urine culture may be administered in conjunction with a urinalysis or as a follow-up to abnormal urinalysis results.
What does a Urine Culture test check for?
Urine is a fluid generated by the kidneys that contains both water and waste. It passes from the kidneys to the bladder through tubes called ureters before being expelled from the body through the urethra. Urine culture is a test that detects and identifies bacteria and yeast in the urine that could be the source of a urinary tract infection.
A small amount of urine is placed on one or more agar plates and incubated at body temperature for a urine culture. Any bacteria or yeast present in the urine sample will grow into little circular colonies during the next 24 to 48 hours. The number of colonies and the size, shape, and color of these colonies assist identify which bacteria are present in the urine sample, and the number of colonies shows the amount of bacteria that were initially present in the urine sample. A laboratory technician counts the total number of colonies on the agar plate and determines how many types have grown. If a good, clean catch sample was taken for the test, the only bacteria found should be from an infection. Typically, there will be only one variety of bacterium present in relatively significant quantities. More than one type of bacteria may be present at any given time. This could be the result of a multi-pathogen infection, although it's more likely owing to contamination from the skin picked up during the urine collection.
A gram stain will be performed on a colony from each type by the laboratory technician. The bacteria are examined under a microscope by the laboratory technician. Different species of bacteria will have distinct colors and forms. Under a microscope, the bacterium Escherichia coli, which is responsible for the majority of urinary tract infections, will appear as gram-negative rods. Lactobacillus, a frequent vaginal contaminant found in women's urine, will show up as gram-positive rods. Some bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, are easy to detect by a skilled lab technician, are nonpathogenic, and do not require additional research. Others, such as gram-negative rods, represent clusters of identical bacteria that will necessitate extra testing to determine which bacteria are present.
After 24 to 48 hours of incubation, if there is no or little growth on the agar, the urine culture is declared negative for pathogens and the culture is complete. If one or more pathogens are found, more testing is done. Testing is performed to determine which bacteria are present, as well as susceptibility testing to determine which antibiotics are most likely to cure the infection.
Lab tests often ordered with a Urine Culture test:
- Urinalysis, Complete
- C-Reactive Protein
- Rheumatoid Factor
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
- Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
Conditions where a Urine Culture test is recommended:
- Kidney Disease
- Liver Disease
- Kidney Stones
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
How does my health care provider use a Urine Culture test?
The urine culture is often used to diagnose a urinary tract infection and to identify the bacteria or yeast that is causing it. It can be used in conjunction with susceptibility testing to discover which drugs will stop the infection-causing bacterium from growing. The findings will aid a doctor in determining which treatments are most likely to be beneficial in treating a patient's infection.
The kidneys, a pair of bean-shaped organs positioned near the bottom of the ribcage on the right and left sides of the back, produce urine. To transport wastes out of the body, the kidneys filter waste from the blood and generate urine, a yellow fluid. Urine goes from the kidneys to the bladder, where it is briefly stored, and then via the urethra to be emptied. Urine is normally sterile, but bacteria or, more rarely, yeast can migrate up the urinary tract from the skin outside the urethra and produce a urinary tract infection.
The majority of UTIs are considered simple and treatable. The infection may spread up through the ureters and into the kidneys if they are not treated. A kidney infection is more hazardous and can result in renal damage that is irreversible. In some situations, a urinary tract infection can escalate to a life-threatening infection in the bloodstream.
People with renal disease or other illnesses that impact the kidneys, such as diabetes or kidney stones, as well as people with compromised immune systems, may be more susceptible to UTIs.
What do my Urine Culture test results mean?
Urine culture results are frequently interpreted in conjunction with urinalysis results, as well as how the sample was taken and whether symptoms are present. Because certain urine samples may contain bacteria that are ordinarily found on the skin, some culture results must be interpreted with caution.
A positive urine culture is usually defined as the presence of a single kind of bacteria growing at high colony counts. Cultures containing more than 100,000 CFU/mL of one species of bacteria in clean catch samples that have been correctly collected usually indicate infection. Even if an infection is present, there may not be a large number of germs present in some circumstances. Lower levels can sometimes suggest infection, particularly if symptoms are present. Similarly, values of 1,000 to 100,000 CFU/mL may be deemed significant for samples acquired using a technique that reduces contamination, such as a sample collected with a catheter.
Although UTIs can be caused by a variety of bacteria, the majority are caused by Escherichia coli, a kind of bacteria that is widespread in the digestive tract and frequently detected in stool. Proteus, Klebsiella, Enterococcus, and Staphylococcus are among the bacteria that can cause UTIs. A yeast infection, such as Candida albicans, can cause a UTI, but urethritis is more commonly caused by a sexually transmitted illness, such as herpes, chlamydia, or gonorrhea.
When a culture says "no growth in 24 or 48 hours," it usually means there isn't an infection. If the symptoms persist, a urine culture on a new sample may be performed to test for bacteria with reduced colony numbers or other microorganisms that could be causing the symptoms. Acute urethral syndrome is defined as the presence of white blood cells and low quantities of bacteria in a sick person's urine.
If multiple different species of bacteria thrive in a culture, the growth is almost certainly due to contamination. This is notably true in urine samples containing Lactobacillus and/or other prevalent nonpathogenic vaginal bacteria in women. If the symptoms persist, the healthcare provider may order a second culture on a more thoroughly collected sample. However, if one species of bacteria has considerably larger colony counts than the others, such as 100,000 CFUs/mL versus 1,000 CFUs/mL, further testing to determine the dominating bacterium may be required.
Susceptibility testing may be used to guide treatment if a culture is positive. Any bacterial infection can be dangerous and, if left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body. Pain is frequently the first sign of infection. Treatment as soon as possible, generally with antibiotics, will help to relieve the pain.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.