Bronchoscopic culture is a laboratory exam to check a piece of tissue or fluid from the lungs for infection-causing germs.
A procedure called bronchoscopy is used to get a sample (biopsy or brush) of lung tissue or fluid.
The sample is sent to a laboratory. There, it is placed in a special dish (culture). It is then watched to see if bacteria or other disease-causing germs grow. Treatment is based on the results of the culture.
Follow your health care provider's instructions on how to prepare for bronchoscopy.
Your provider will tell you what to expect during bronchoscopy.
A bronchoscopic culture is done to find infection in the lung that cannot be accurately detected by a sputum culture. The procedure may find the following things, such as:
No organisms are seen on the culture.
Abnormal culture results usually indicate a respiratory infection. The infection may be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, mycobacteria, or fungi. The results of the culture will help determine the best treatment.
Not all organisms found with bronchoscopic culture need to be treated. Your provider will tell you more about this if needed.
Your provider can discuss the risks of the bronchoscopy procedure with you.
Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron, Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.