In order to assess the microbiologic and clinical value of primary broth culture of wound specimens collected with swabs and submitted to the laboratory in transport medium, we compared the results of primary agar culture with the results of a corresponding primary broth culture for 344 aerobic specimens and 176 anaerobic specimens. While 8.7% (45 of 520) of the specimens yielded organisms from the primary broth culture that were not recovered from the corresponding primary agar culture, only 5.0% (26 of 520) of the specimens yielded organisms from the primary broth culture other than Staphylococcus epidermidis, viridans group streptococci, and Corynebacterium spp. Moreover, the primary broth culture of only 0.6% (3 of 520) of the specimens yielded organisms not recovered from the primary agar culture that caused a change in the therapy of the patient. Our conclusion is that primary broth cultures are unnecessary for the processing of wound specimens properly collected with swabs
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