Skip to Content
UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: AFB, Sputum

Test Code(s): AFB / HCAFB

CPT Code(s): 87015, 87206, 87116

Test Description: Test Component:

Acid fast stain and culture with identification for mycobacteria. Species identification may include HPLC, DNA probes, biochemical testing, growth characteristics and gene sequencing.  Mycobacterial susceptibility available based on species isolated.

Methodology: Microscopy and Culture

Testing Site: Testing will be sent to an approved reference laboratory.

Days Performed: Mon-Fri.

Turnaround Time: Routine: Smear/Stain: 1 - 3 days. Final report: 1 - 8 weeks.

Specimen Requirements

Specimen: Sputum

Patient Preparation: Collect specimen(s) prior to chemotherapy.

Collection Instructions: Follow packaging instructions included with State Lab Acid Fast Bacillus (AFB) collection kit (CS Item# 2200232). Collect at least three consecutive sputum specimens, each collected in 8-24 hour interval, with at least one being an early morning specimen.

Collection Container: Preferred: State Lab Acid Fast Bacillus (AFB) collection kit
Also Acceptable: Sterile screw cap container

Sample Analyzed: Sputum

Volume Required: Preferred: 5 - 10 mL

Specimen Transport: Transport specimen to UWHC Core Laboratory (B4/220).
Transport to laboratory as soon as possible. Refrigerate if specimen submission is delayed.

Unacceptable Criteria: Saliva or 24-hour pooled sputums are not acceptable specimens.


Additional Information:

Culture results include:  Negative; Species identification when mycobacterial growth is detected; Culture overgrown with non acid-fast organisms.


Mycobacterial susceptibility testing recommended for M. tuberculosis isolates.

Mycobacteria, Sputum

Back to Lab Test Directory Index