Detailed Analysis of the Characteristics of Sample Volume in Blood Culture Bottles.


Division of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden [Email]


Blood volume is the most important variable for the detection of microorganisms in blood cultures (BCs). Most standards recommend 40 to 60 ml blood, collected in several BC bottles filled up to 10 ml. We measured blood volume in individual BC bottles and analyzed the associations of hospital, bottle type, day of the week, daily sampling time, and age and sex of the patient with sampling volume and BC result. The variation in blood volume per BC bottle was analyzed in a mixed linear model using hospital, bottle type, weekday, sampling time, age, and sex as fixed factors and patient identification (ID) and episode as random factors to control for repetitive sampling of individual patients. Only 18% of all bottles were filled with the recommended 8 to 10 ml, and 47% were filled with less than 8 ml. The mean (± standard error) volume was larger in positive bottles (9.09 ± 0.15) than in negative bottles (8.47 ± 0.07) (P < 0.001). Blood volume was larger in BacT/Alert-FA Plus bottles than in -FN Plus BC bottles (P < 0.001). There were significantly lower volumes collected during the night (P < 0.001). The volume of blood collected decreased significantly with increasing patient age (P < 0.001). Larger volumes were collected from male patients than from female patients: 8.78 (± 0.06) versus 8.36 (± 0.06) ml (mean ± standard error [SE]), respectively (P < 0.001). The odds of detecting a positive patient increases by 13% for each additional milliliter of blood drawn. Our results show that we need to work actively with the development of blood sampling routines to overcome age and sex effects and to optimize blood sampling volumes.


blood culture,blood stream infections,detection of microorganisms,sample volume,