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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: Culture, Urine


CPT Code(s): 87086, 87088; Additional CPT codes may be added for processing, identification, and susceptibility testing.

Test Description: Test Component:

Culture; Gram stain if requested.

Methodology: Culture, Microscopy

Clinical Significance: Isolate and identify pathogenic organisms causing urinary tract infection.

Days Performed: Daily.

Turnaround Time: Stat: Not available stat.
Routine: Cultures with insignificant or no growth will be reported after 24 hours. Reports on specimens from which significant organism(s) have been isolated require a minimum of 48 hours for completion.

Specimen Requirements

Specimen: Random urine

Collection Instructions: Indicate midstream, indwelling cath, single cath, VB series, cystoscopy, or suprapubic aspirate.

Collection Container: Preferred: Sterile screw cap container

Collection Volume: Preferred: 1 mL
Pediatrics: 1 mL

Sample Analyzed: Urine aliquot

Volume Required: Preferred: 0.1 mL
Pediatrics: 0.1 mL

Specimen Processing: Refrigerate specimen if transport to laboratory will be greater than 2 hours.

Specimen Transport: Transport specimen to UWHC Core Laboratory (B4/220) within 2 hours of collection. Transport specimen with coolant pack if over 2 hours.

Unacceptable Criteria: LIMIT: One specimen every 24 hours.

Stability: Ambient: 2 hours
Refrigerated: 24 hours
Frozen: Not acceptable


Expected Results:

None (Less than 1000 CFU/mL)

Test Limitations:

Bacteria present in numbers less than 1000 colony forming units (CFU) per mL are not detected by this method.

Additional Information:

In general, in clean catch, midstream specimens, colony counts in fresh bladder urine from infected patients show more than 10,000 CFU/mL.


A colony count of more than 10,000 CFU/mL is significant in urine collected via an indwelling catheter, more than 1,000 CFU/mL if collected by single (straight) catheterization.


 Regardless of the collection method, if more than two organisms are present at greater than 10,000 CFU/mL, only a single, predominating pathogen will be identified. If neither predominates, the report will indicate the presumptive identity of each with a comment suggesting the pattern of growth suggests poor specimen quality.


Customized protocols are used for diagnosis of prostatitis, ileal conduits, suprapubic aspirates, cystoscopy or when low count UTI (urethral syndrome) is indicated.


Susceptibility tests are performed based on UWHC Microbiology laboratory protocols.

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