Diagnostic Tests

Fungal Culture Pleural Fluid


Fungal Culture Pleural Fluid

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What is this test?

Fungal culture pleural fluid is performed on a sample of pleural fluid to check for the fungal growth in the pleural fluid (a fluid found in the pleural membranes). This test helps to know whether you have a fungal infection in the lungs or not.

What are the lung fungal infections?

Fungal organisms are found anywhere in the environment. They exist as two forms yeasts and molds. The fungal organisms that exhibit a temperature-dependent switch between these two forms are known as dimorphic. These organisms can cause infections in individuals with poor immunity.

Candida species are the most common form of yeasts that cause fungal infections. These fungal organisms cause bloodstream infection with involvement of other organs but rarely affect the lungs. Cryptococcus species are another form of yeasts which can cause lung infections especially in individuals with poor immunity. Aspergillus genus members are a form of molds which can cause lung diseases and can trigger the allergic reactions in many individuals. Rhizopus, Mucor, Rhizomucor etc are other forms of molds that rarely cause infection.

Histoplasmosis, blastomycosis, sporotrichosis, coccidioidomycosis, paracoccidioidomycosis, and chromoblastomycosis are fungi that are dimorphic in nature. These fungal organisms exist as yeast form in infected individuals (host) and as a mold form in the environment.

The pleural membranes are layers that cover the chest cavity and the outside of each lung. Pleural fluid is a liquid found in layers of pleural membranes. It is present in small quantities and acts as a lubricant for the lung movements. The condition of excess accumulation of this fluid in the pleural membranes (pleural effusion) can cause pleuritis (swelling of the pleural membranes). Infections are one of the major cause for the pleural effusion. Swelling of the pleural membranes due to the fungal infection is known as fungal pleuritis. This test helps to determine the presence of fungal lung infections.

These infections start with the accidental inhalation of microscopic fungal spores. They are less common and mainly affects the individuals with poor immunity. The affected people will experience mild to moderate flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, headaches, nausea, fast heartbeat, etc. Cryptococcus, Coccidioides, Aspergillus species are the common fungal organisms that cause lung infections.

Why this test is performed?

This test is performed as part of routine health screening or to determine the presence of fungal lung infections. Your doctor may ask to perform this test if you experience any signs and symptoms of fungal pleuritis such as fever, chills, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, headaches, nausea, fast heartbeat, etc. This test is also performed to monitor and evaluate the treatment effectiveness in individuals receiving treatment for fungal lung infections. However, your doctor may ask to perform a susceptibility testing on the fungi isolated from this culture test to determine the antifungal treatment.

Also known as Fungal Culture and Sensitivity Pleural Fluid.

Test Preparation

Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Fungal Culture Pleural Fluid. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Fungal Culture Pleural Fluid.

No specific preparation is required for this test. However, follow all the instructions given by your healthcare provider.

Understanding your test results

The test results may be vary depending on gender, age, health conditions, and other factors.

If the culture test is positive it may indicate the growth of fungal organisms such as isolates of Cryptococcus, Coccidioides, Aspergillus species or any other fungal organisms in the pleural fluid. It may indicate the presence of fungal lung infections. Aspergillus species are the significant cause of pleural effusion due to fungal infection. However, a few more additional tests may also be performed depending on the suspected cause and typical results, along with the physical symptoms to diagnose the exact infection.

If the culture test is negative it means no growth of fungal organisms is detected from the pleural fluid.

Based on the test results, your doctor may advise you appropriate medical treatments or further diagnostic tests.

GenderAge groupsValue
UNISEXAll age groupsThe growth observed depends on the type of the fungal organism that grows
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