Clinical diagnostics laboratories utilize a wide variety of instrumentation to measure critical care analytes. These instruments range from manual point-of-care bench apparatus to high-volume, fully automated free-standing systems. Testing is performed using all types of body fluids, including serum, whole blood, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and others. The results of these tests provide clinicians with critical information for diagnosis, prognosis, and constant monitoring of patients’ medical status. Clinical laboratories are generally divided into basic units, such as Chemistry, Hematology, Coagulation, Immunochemistry, and Microbiology. These units perform tests that are grouped according to the type of analyte and/or to the methodology of measurement.
Blood Culture testing is performed in the Microbiology laboratory to detect infections that are spreading through the bloodstream, such as bacteremia, infective endocarditis, and septicemia. The introduction of automated equipment for blood culture techniques has greatly shortened the time required to isolate the infectious pathogen and carry out susceptibility tests to determine the efficacy of specific antibiotics.