Roughly 1/3 of all Positive Blood Cultures are FALSE Positives

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 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.

Putting the standard to the test

The Clinical Microbiology Laboratories (CML) standards specify that blood culture contamination rates should not exceed 3%.3

Blood culture contamination rates differ widely between institutions but hospitals frequently exceed the 3% standard benchmark.4,5 Even when hospitals do achieve the accepted rate, they are conceding to the inaccuracy of nearly one-third of their positive results. That means, about 30% of all patients who receive a positive blood culture result—and for whom treatment is thereby initiated—are put at higher risk by unnecessary care.

Compare the laboratory result distribution of ‘All Blood Cultures’ to the subset of ‘Positive Blood Cultures’


We would not accept a test that wrongly detects pregnancy one in three times. Why tolerate these rates from blood culture testing?


Current rates are unacceptable.

When hospitals aim for the 3% standard3, we hit the target but miss the point.

Origins of blood culture contamination

“It is currently accepted that most organisms identified as contaminants in BCs originate from the skin of the patient.”
– AJIC, 20152


Roughly 20% of the microbes present in skin reside deep in the dermis layer and may be drawn into blood samples.2 Without a way to avoid these microbes, hospitals have accepted high rates of seemingly unavoidable false positives—until now with the introduction of Kurin®.

The high cost to hospitals

Major healthcare payers no longer reimburse hospital-acquired infections.

The cost of a false-positive blood culture is estimated at $4,500-$10,000.2

With 1/3 of all positive blood culture results being inaccurate, the average hospital spends more than $1 million dollars on unnecessary treatment of non-existent bloodstream infections.

Each year, U.S. hospitals waste several billion dollars related to more than one million false-positive results.

The incalculable risks

Extended hospital stays increase the risk of hospital-acquired infections and adverse events.

The unnecessary administration of antibiotics increases the risk of allergic reactions and drug interactions.

The overuse of antibiotics lessens the efficacy of treatment and leaves patients vulnerable to drug-resistant superbugs.

The discomfort, inconvenience, and anxiety caused by undergoing unnecessary bloodstream infection treatment lowers patient satisfaction scores.

It’s time to sideline skin contaminants with Kurin.

It’s time to improve the odds with Kurin.

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.
3 Clinical and laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Principles and procedures for blood cultures: approved guideline. CLSI document M47-A. Wayne (PA): Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute; 2007.
4 Gander RM, Byrd L, DeCrescenzo M, Hirany S, Bowen M, Baughman J. Impact of blood cultures drawn by phlebotomy on contamination rates and health care costs in a hospital emergency department. J Clin Microbiol 2009 Apr;47(4):1021-1024.
5 Schifman RB, Strand CL, Meier FA, Howanitz PJ. Blood culture contamination: A College of American Pathologists Q-Probes study involving 640 institutions and 497134 specimens from adult patients. Arch Pathol Lab Med 1998 Mar;122(3):216-221.

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