Print E-mail
Volume 33, Number 1, March 2000

The assessment of anaerobic blood culture in children

Chieng-Shiun Lee, Be-Tau Hwang, Ruey-Lung Chung, Ren-Bin Tang
Department of Pediatrics, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, and National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan, ROC



Over the past 20 years, there has been a decline in the percentage of positive blood cultures yielding anaerobic organisms. Due to the limited blood volume drawn from pediatric patients, we have assessed the value of routine anaerobic blood cultures in children. From January 1994 to December 1998, 9886 paired aerobic and anaerobic blood cultures were analyzed in the pediatric microbiology laboratory at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital. Six hundred and eighteen (6.25%) isolates were considered to be clinically important microorganisms. Staphylococci, streptococci, aerobic gram-negative bacilli, and yeasts showed more significant growth within the aerobic culture than that within the anaerobic culture. Significantly more aerobic gram-positive cocci, aerobic gram-negative bacilli, and yeasts were detected at least 1 day earlier by using the aerobic culture. Three patients with documented anaerobic bacteremia had obvious symptoms related to anaerobic infections. Our study concludes that routine use of anaerobic blood culture in pediatric patients is not necessary. Anaerobic blood cultures should be reserved for patients with diseases like intra-abdominal or oral infections, neutropenic patients on steroid therapy, pressure sores, cellulitis, and human bite wounds.


J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2000;33:49-52.