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Sputum test
Sputum test


Definition:

A sputum fungal smear is a laboratory test that looks for fungus in a sputum sample. Sputum is the material that comes up from air passages when you cough very deeply.



Alternative Names:

KOH test; Fungal smear - sputum



How the test is performed:

A sputum sample is needed. You will be asked to cough deeply and spit any material that comes up from your lung into a special container.

The sample is sent to a lab. A small amount is lightly smeared onto a microscope slide and mixed with potassium hydroxide (KOH). The slide is examined under the microscope and checked for fungus parts.



How to prepare for the test:

There is no special preparation.



How the test will feel:

There is no discomfort.



Why the test is performed:

Your doctor may order this test if you have abnormal sputum production or signs of a lung infection.



Normal Values:

A normal test should show no fungus on the microscope slide.

Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.



What abnormal results mean:

Abnormal results may be a sign of a fungal infection. Such infections include:

White blood cells called eosinophils may also be present. An abnormal result may also be due to acute pulmonary eosinophilia (Loeffler syndrome) .



What the risks are:

There are no risks associated with a sputum fungal smear.




Review Date: 12/3/2007
Reviewed By: D. Scott Smith, M.D., MSc, DTM&H, Chief of Infectious Disease & Geographic Medicine, Kaiser Redwood City, CA & Adjunct Assistant Professor, Stanford University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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