The importance of obtaining a sputum sample and how it can aid diagnosis and treatment.

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The importance of obtaining a sputum sample and how it can aid diagnosis and treatment.

Br J Nurs. 2019 Mar 14;28(5):295-298

Authors: Blakeborough L, Watson JS

Abstract
Respiratory disease has a major impact on the NHS and continues to be a growing problem as each year passes. However, through improving diagnosis and management of respiratory disease the problem could be lessened. Taking a sputum sample is common practice within respiratory medicine especially for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and helps to diagnose, confirm infection and offer correct treatment. It is important that the multidisciplinary team are aware of how to appropriately obtain sputum samples and when to request them. It is important as a respiratory health professional to understand the patient's usual sputum history including colour, amount and viscosity. Antibiotic stewardship aims to reduce antibiotic resistance through offering the most appropriate antibiotics for those with a bacterial infection and to discourage antibiotic prescribing for those that have not. This should result in better patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

PMID: 30907645 [PubMed - in process]