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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course The Story of Phlebotomy: A Historical Perspective. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Blood Culture Contamination—Possibly Near 0% in the Future?

An innovative new product referred to as the initial specimen diversion device (ISDD), known as SteriPath® is a “vein-to-bottle” closed sterile system that mechanically diverts and sequesters the initial 1.5 ml to 2.0 ml of blood in a blood culture draw before creating a new, second sterile blood flow path into the culture bottle. The rationale behind the design is that before a patient’s blood is drawn, the phlebotomist applies an antiseptic to the patient’s skin to kill surface organisms. However, the anatomy of the skin is such that while it can be disinfected up to a point, some of the microorganisms survive the antiseptic. It is possible that these microorganisms are captured when the needle first pierces the skin resulting in a contaminated blood culture. In a recent study using the ISDD the blood culture contamination rate was reduced from 1.78% to 0.2%, representing an 88% reduction.