Single Sputum Sample
What is a sputum sample?
Sputum is the phlegm that you cough up from your lungs. Your doctor has asked for a sputum sample to help find out what may be causing your lung symptoms. This is a test that you will do at home. The nurse will provide you with a sample cup and forms to return with the sample.
Your doctor will discuss your test results with you. It may take a few days for the lab to complete the tests.
How do I prepare for this test?
Drink plenty of fluids the night before the test. This may help to produce a better sample.
How do I produce a sputum sample?
- The best sputum sample is done first thing in the morning before eating. You may take a warm shower first to help loosen up the phlegm in your lungs.
- You will need the sputum sample cup and a cup of water.
- Rinse your mouth well with water. Swish and spit. You may brush your teeth before this rinse if you desire.
- Take a very deep breath and cough hard and deeply until you can feel phlegm come up into the back of your throat. Clear your throat and cough the phlegm into the cup. Y ou may have to spit it into the cup once the phlegm has reached the front of your mouth. *Note: Do not touch the inside of the cup with your hands so that other germs do not enter the sample.
- If you do not get a sample after the first few coughs, wait a few minutes and keep trying with strong, deep coughing. A good sample will look thicker and cloudier than your saliva.
- Secure the lid on to the sample cup.
- Place the sample into the refrigerator until you mail the sample or leave for the clinic.
What do I write on the forms and sample cup?
Please write the date and time that you gave the sample on both the form and the cup. Place the form around the cup with a rubber band.
How do I transport the sample?
The nurse will instruct you to either mail or bring the sample back to the clinic. If you have been asked to mail the sample, the clinic will provide you with mailing supplies.
If you have been asked to bring in the sample, please transport it in a cooler if you live more than 1 hour away.
If you have any questions or concerns please call UWHC Pulmonary Clinic, Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm at (608)-263-7203.
Toll free: 1-800-323-8942, please ask for Pulmonary Clinic.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 02/01/2010
Copyright © 02/01/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6406
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