Research suggests that approximately 90% of all blood culture tests have negative results.1 That means that for every 1000 blood draws, about 100 patients receive a positive result. But, well-established false positive blood culture rates2 tell us that roughly 30 of the patients who test positive do NOT have a bloodstream infection.
Positive blood culture results are WRONG ≈30% of the time.
What is a false positive blood culture?
1 Zwang O, Albert RK. Analysis of Strategies to Improve Cost Effectiveness of Blood Cultures. J Hosp Med. 2006 Sep;1(5):272-6.
2 Garcia RA, Spitzer ED, Beaudry J, et al. Multidisciplinary team review of best practices for collection and handling of blood cultures to determine effective interventions for increasing the yield of true-positive bacteremia, reducing contamination, and eliminating false-positive central line-associated bloodstream infections. Am J Infect Control. 2015 Nov 1;43(11):1222-37.
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