Establishing a long-term model for analysis and improvement of underfilled blood culture volumes

Michael Zaleski, Patrick Erdman, Joshua Adams, Amanda Michael, Abigail Rudy, Robert Boesch, Lauren Allison, Patricia Mailander, Wendell Hess, Debra Myers, David Craft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives Underfilling of blood culture bottles decreases the sensitivity of the culture. We attempt to increase average blood culture fill volumes (ABCFVs) through an educational program. Methods Partnerships were established with four hospital units (surgical intensive care unit [SICU], medical intensive care unit [MICU], medical intermediate care unit [MIMCU], and hematology and oncology unit [HEME/ONC]). ABCFVs were continuously tracked and communicated to each unit monthly. Educational sessions were provided to each unit. Results ABCFVs for the SICU, MICU, MIMCU, and HEME/ONC were 4.8, 5.0, 5.0, and 6.3 mL/bottle, respectively. After the final education session, the SICU, MICU, MIMCU, and HEME/ONC were able to maintain an ABCFV of 6.8, 8.1, 7.9, and 8.2 mL/bottle, respectively. Conclusions Partnering with a specific unit and providing monthly volume reports with educational sessions has a direct positive correlation on increasing ABCFVs. Increasing ABCFVs has the potential to decrease false-negative blood cultures, time to detection of positive blood cultures, and time to appropriate and specific antimicrobial therapy, as well as improve patient outcomes in high-acuity patient care units.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-170
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 7 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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