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Alternative Names Return to topCulture - nasopharyngeal; Swab for respiratory viruses; Swab for Staph carriage
Definition Return to top
Nasopharyngeal culture is a sample of secretions from the uppermost part of the throat, behind the nose, to detect organisms that can cause disease.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
You will be asked to cough before the test begins and then tilt your head back. A sterile cotton-tipped swab is gently passed through the nostril and into the nasopharynx, the part of the pharynx that covers the roof of the mouth. The swab is quickly rotated and then removed.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
There is no special preparation necessary.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
You may experience slight discomfort and may gag.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
The test identifies viruses and bacteria that cause upper-respiratory tract symptoms. Nasopharyngeal cultures are useful in identifying respiratory viruses, and bacteria such as:
The culture may be used to help determine which antibiotic therapy is appropriate.
Normal Results Return to top
The presence of organisms commonly found in the nasopharynx is normal.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
The presence of any disease-causing virus, bacteria, or fungus means these organisms may be involved in your infection.
Risks Return to top
There are no risks.Update Date: 11/12/2007 Updated by: Arnold L. Lentnek, M.D., Division of Infectious Disease, Kennestone Hospital, Marietta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.