Monica Arenas, Gracia M Boseman, John D Coppin, Janell Lukey, Chetan Jinadatha, Dhammika H Navarathna from Central Texas Veterans Health Care System
Blood culture contamination above the national threshold has been a consistent clinical issue in the ED setting. Two commercially available devices were examined that divert an initial small volume of the specimen before the collection of blood culture to reduce skin contamination.
Prospectively, 2 different blood culture-diversion devices were made available in the unit supplies to ED clinicians at a single site during 2 different periods of time as a follow-up strategy to an ongoing quality improvement project. Blood samples were collected in the emergency department over a period of 16 months. A retrospective record review study was conducted comparing the use of the 2 specimen-diversion devices with no device (control group) for blood culture contamination rates. The main outcome of monthly blood culture contamination per device was tested using a Bayesian Poisson multilevel regression model.
A total of 4030 blood samples were collected and analyzed from November 2017 to February 2019. The model estimated that the mean incidence of contaminated blood draws in the device A group was 0.29 (0.14-0.55) times the incidence of contaminated draws in the control group. The mean incidence of contaminated blood draws in the device B group was 0.23 (0.13-0.37) times the incidence of contaminated draws in the control group, suggesting that initial-diversion methods reduced blood culture contamination.
Initial specimen-diversion devices supplement present standard phlebotomy protocols to bring down the blood culture contamination rate.