Aerobic Bacterial Culture, General

CPT: 87070
Print Share


  • Culture, Bacterial, General, Aerobic
  • Eye
  • Fluids
  • Routine Culture, Abscess
  • Wound

Test Includes

Isolation and identification (additional CPT codes) of potential aerobic pathogens and drug susceptibility tests (additional charge). Gram stain (additional test) is recommended. CPT coding for microbiology and virology procedures often cannot be determined before the culture is performed. Requests with only a written order and no test number indicated will be processed according to Default Testing for Routine Microbiology.

Special Instructions

The test request form must state specific site of specimen, age of patient, and time of collection. Inclusion of current antibiotic therapy and clinical diagnosis may aid the laboratory in evaluating the specimen and work-up of the culture. If an unusual organism is suspected, this information must be specifically noted on the test request form (eg, Nocardia) and may result in additional charges. For extended incubation, order Aerobic Culture, Extended Incubation [180803].

Specimens from other sources, such as genital, stool, urine, upper and lower respiratory specimens, cannot be cultured under the aerobic bacterial culture test number. If specimens are incorrectly submitted with an order for aerobic bacterial culture, the laboratory will process the specimen for the test based on the source listed on the test request form. The client will not be telephoned to approve this change, but the change will be indicated on the report.

Expected Turnaround Time

3 - 5 days

Related Documents

Specimen Requirements


Pus or other material properly obtained from a body site (abscesses, eyes, tissue, wounds). Do not send syringe with needle.


Swab or 0.5 mL aseptically aspirated pus or tissue


Sterile screw-cap container or bacterial swab transport; ESwab™ is acceptable


Disinfect contiguous areas of skin or mucous membrane containing resident normal flora prior to culture collection. Collect exudates from the interior of productive lesions. Tissue samples must be kept moist. A thin, air-dried smear for Gram stain obtained from the same site as the culture is strongly recommended (additional test).

Storage Instructions

Maintain specimen at room temperature.

Patient Preparation

Sterile preparation of the aspiration site is required.

Causes for Rejection

Improper labeling; specimen received in grossly leaking transport container; specimen received in expired transport media; specimen received after prolonged delay (usually more than 48 hours)

Test Details


Isolate and identify potentially pathogenic aerobic organisms. Susceptibility test is performed at additional charge when organisms isolated meet microbiologic criteria for clinical significance.


Only rapid-growing, nonfastidious aerobic organisms can be recovered and identified by routine methods. Only organisms that predominate will be identified. Unless specifically requested by the physician, fastidious organisms may not be isolated. Anaerobic, fungal, and mycobacterial pathogens should be considered, and appropriate cultures requested if clinically indicated. The procedure will not detect Chlamydia, viruses, fungi, or mycobacteria.



Reference Interval

No growth, routine/normal skin flora, routine/normal “body site” flora. Wounds often become colonized by multiple gram-negative rods and mixed culture results are common. A simultaneous Gram stain should always be prepared and performed (additional charge) to facilitate interpretation.

Eye: Routine flora of the eye may include Corynebacterium sp (diphtheroids), Staphylococcus epidermidis, saprophytic fungi, Moraxella (Branhamella) catarrhalis, Moraxella sp, Streptococcus sp (nonhemolytic), and gram-negative rods (rare). Abnormal ocular flora include Haemophilus influenzae, Haemophilus aegyptius, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus subtilis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Mycobacterium chelonae.

Wound: Routine skin flora may include coagulase-negative staphylococci, Corynebacterium sp (diphtheroids), α-streptococci (Streptococcus viridans, or viridans streptococci).

Additional Information

Eye: The major modes of transmission of disease to the conjunctiva include the hands, airborne fomites, and spread for adjacent adnexal infections. Eye infections include eyelid infections, blepharitis, dacryocystitis, orbital cellulitis, conjunctivitis, keratitis, endophthalmitis retinitis, and chorioretinitis. Pinkeye is caused by adenovirus. It presents as bilateral conjunctivitis with a sudden onset. Herpes simplex and zoster present as periorbital or corneal infections. Nontuberculous mycobacterial keratitis may occur following trauma or surgery accompanied by the use of local corticosteroids.1

Wound: Susceptibility testing is usually performed. The majority of bacteria infecting surgical wounds are common airborne microörganisms.2 Effective treatment of wound infection usually includes drainage, removal of foreign bodies, infected prosthetic devices, and retained foreign objects such as suture material. Suction irrigation may be helpful in resolving wound infections. Species commonly recovered from wounds include Escherichia coli, Proteus sp, Klebsiella sp, Pseudomonas sp, Enterobacter sp, enterococci, other streptococci, Bacteroides sp, Prevotella sp, Clostridium sp, Staphylococcus aureus, and coagulase-negative Staphylococcus.


1. Bullington RH Jr, Lanier JD, Font RL. Nontuberculous mycobacterial keratitis. Report of two cases and review of the literature. Arch Ophthalmol. 1992 Apr; 110(4):519-524. 1562261
2. Whyte W, Hambraeus A, Laurell G, Hoborn J. The relative importance of the routes and sources of wound contamination during general surgery. II. Airborne. J Hosp Infect. 1992 Sep; 22(1):41-54. 1358946


Baker AS. Ocular infections: Clinical and laboratory considerations. Clin Microbiol Newsl. 1989; 11:97-101.
Cheadle WG. Current perspectives on antibiotic use in the treatment of surgical infections. Am J Surg. 1992 Oct; 164(4A Suppl):44S-47S. 1443360
Goldstein EJ. Management of human and animal bite wounds. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1989 Dec; 21(6):1275-1279. 2685062
Jones DB, Leisegang TJ, Robinson NM. Cumitech 17. In: Washington JA, ed. Laboratory Diagnosis of Ocular Infections. Washington, DC: ASM Press;1981 (review).
Kligman EW. Treatment of otitis media. Am Fam Physician. 1992 Jan; 45(1):242-250. 1728094
Macknin ML. Respiratory infections in children. What helps and what doesn't? Postgrad Med. 1992 Jan; 92(2):242-250. 1495881
Pollack AV, Evans M. Microbiologic prediction of abdominal surgical wound infection. Arch Surg. 1987 Jan; 122(1):33-37. 3541852
Randall DA, Fornadley JA, Kennedy KS. Management of recurrent otitis media. Am Fam Physician. 1992 May; 45(5):2117-2123. 1575107


Order Code Order Code Name Order Loinc Result Code Result Code Name UofM Result LOINC
008649 Aerobic Bacterial Culture 41852-5 008649 Aerobic Bacterial Culture 41852-5
Reflex Table for Aerobic Bacterial Culture
Order Code Order Name Result Code Result Name UofM Result LOINC
Reflex 1 997874 Result 997876 Result 1 6463-4
Reflex Table for Aerobic Bacterial Culture
Order Code Order Name Result Code Result Name UofM Result LOINC
Reflex 1 997874 Result 997878 Result 2 6463-4
Reflex Table for Aerobic Bacterial Culture
Order Code Order Name Result Code Result Name UofM Result LOINC
Reflex 1 997874 Result 997880 Result 3 6463-4
Reflex Table for Aerobic Bacterial Culture
Order Code Order Name Result Code Result Name UofM Result LOINC
Reflex 1 997874 Result 997882 Result 4 6463-4
Reflex Table for Aerobic Bacterial Culture
Order Code Order Name Result Code Result Name UofM Result LOINC
Reflex 1 997874 Result 997884 Antimicrobial Susceptibility 23658-8

For Providers

Please login to order a test

Order a Test

© 2021 Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings and Lexi-Comp Inc. All Rights Reserved.

CPT Statement/Profile Statement

The LOINC® codes are copyright © 1994-2021, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. and the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Committee. Permission is granted in perpetuity, without payment of license fees or royalties, to use, copy, or distribute the LOINC® codes for any commercial or non-commercial purpose, subject to the terms under the license agreement found at Additional information regarding LOINC® codes can be found at, including the LOINC Manual, which can be downloaded at