Diagnostic Tests

Occult Blood Microscopy Sputum


Occult Blood Microscopy Sputum

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What is this test?

Occult Blood Microscopy sputum test is used to determine whether invisible (occult) blood is present in the sputum.

What is sputum?

Sputum is the thick mucus that you cough up from your lungs. The presence of occult blood cannot be identified with the naked eye. Presence of blood in the sputum can be caused due to infections in the lungs or airways. Occult blood in the sputum may also be due to lung cancer. Variety of respiratory conditions that may show the presence of occult blood in the sputum, which includes bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, chest infections, and severe cough, etc. The presence of blood in the sputum can also be from stomach disease conditions.

Why this test is performed?

This test is normally performed if you exhibit symptoms such as lung infections or respiratory airway diseases. The doctor may ask you to undergo this test if you are suffering from respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, or chest infections, etc. If you have a severe cough, then the doctor may recommend doing this test to screen for any bacterial respiratory infections such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. Your doctor may advise you to perform this test if he suspects lung cancer or if you have a family history of lung cancer. Your doctor may ask you to perform a few more additional tests along with this test to reach a diagnosis.

If you have a family history of lung disorders or lung cancer, your doctor may advise you to get this test done once in every 6 months to once in a year based on your clinical condition. If you are diagnosed with lung diseases or lung cancer, then you may have to perform this test on a regular basis as instructed by your doctor.

Test Preparation

Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Occult Blood Microscopy Sputum. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Occult Blood Microscopy Sputum.

No specific preparation is required for this test. However, if this test is performed along with other blood tests, you may have to do fasting (not to eat or drink) for several hours. Follow all the appropriate instructions given by the healthcare professional during and after the test.

Understanding your test results

If the test results are positive or show the presence of occult blood in the sputum, it may indicate that you have infections in your lungs or airways. The common causes that may cause the presence of occult blood in the sputum are bronchitis, asthma, nosebleeds, severe coughing, or other chest infections, etc. The serious causes that may cause this condition are lung or throat cancers, pneumonia, tuberculosis, pulmonary embolism (a condition of presence of blood clot in the lungs), pulmonary edema (presence of fluids in the lungs), or any severe injury to the respiratory system, etc. Use of certain anticoagulants medications may also give a positive result and in these cases, further investigations are required to reach a diagnosis. Individuals who are chronic smokers may also sometimes show the presence of occult blood in the sputum.

If the test results are negative, it indicates that no blood is detected in the sputum sample and no further investigation is necessary; however, if you have any symptoms of lung infections or respiratory infections, consult with your health care provider immediately. Individuals those who have a family history of lung cancer may have to perform this test once in a year or as instructed by your health care provider.

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

GenderAge groupsValue
UNISEXAll age groupsThe observations are reported by pathologist based on the presence or absence of blood in the sample
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