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Sputum smear (KOH test)
Alternative namesKOH test; Fungal smear
DefinitionSputum smear (KOH test) is a test for the presence of fungal microorganisms in sputum.
How the test is performedObtain a sputum sample by coughing deeply and expelling the material that comes from the lungs (sputum) into a specimen container. A smear of sputum is prepared with potassium hydroxide (KOH) and examined under the microscope. If it is positive, fungal cells can be observed.
How to prepare for the testThere is no special preparation.
How the test will feelThere is no discomfort.
Why the test is performedThe test may be performed when there is abnormal sputum production or when an infection of the lungs is suspected.
Normal ValuesNo presence of organisms is normal.
What abnormal results meanAbnormal results indicate the presence of fungus such as histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis , or blastomycoses. White blood cells called eosinophils may also be present.
Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:
What the risks areThere are no risks.
Special considerationsNot applicable.
Update Date: 1/26/2004Daniel Levy, M.D., Ph.D., Infectious Diseases, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT