The challenge of preventing blood culture contamination

Coag Negative Staphylococcus

Why is preventing blood culture contamination so challenging?

While training and education can help, it will not effectively solve the challenge of contamination. Blood culture contamination happens easily and often due to these common factors:

Human factors during assembly
Skin residing bacteria
Skin plugs and fragments
Alternative Diversion Methods

Other techniques and methods have been attempted, but they all fall short.

Manual Diversion Limitations

Yields Contamination Rates Above 2%

Peer-reviewed controlled clinical studies have not demonstrated sustained reductions below 2.2%¹

Waste Tube Challenges

Difficult, if not impossible, to disinfect waste tube top leading to the risk of cross-contamination of both culture bottles

Additional Steps, Touch-Point Contamination

Assembly of supplies and at least 6 additional steps can lead to contamination risks and human error

Passive Diversion Device Limitations

Unproven Diversion Volume

No controlled clinical studies published in national peer-reviewed medical journals on 0.15mL diversion volume

Susceptible to Bypassing Diversion

Passive diversion is dependent upon timing of bottle inoculation²

Venous Pressure-Dependent Diversion

Risk of reduced performance for 'hard stick' (hypovolemic & hypotensive) patients

When it comes to diversion effectiveness, volume matters.

Less than 0.5mL


Diverting less than 0.5mL of blood has not proven to be effective for significant reductions in blood culture contamination.1,3



The most practical and effective volume based on independent clinical studies to reduce blood culture contamination.¹

2.0mL or more


Diminishing contamination reduction improvement when drawing over 2mL of blood.¹

Comparing Diversion Methods

Key Product FeaturesManual Diversion KitsPassive Diversion DevicesSteripath® Gen2

No assembly required (touch-point contamination risk)

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Controlled clinical studies published in national peer-reviewed medical journals

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Adjustable pressure for hypovolemic/hypotensive patients

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One-Step Diversion™: audible “click” diversion confirmation

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Cannot bypass diversionIcon XIcon XIcon Check

Published studies demonstrating effectiveness for use on IV start draws

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Money-Back Clinical Performance Guarantee

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Meet Dr. Patton,

The founding father of initial specimen diversion for blood cultures

In 2006, Dr. Patton designed a clinical study to test the effectiveness of Initial Specimen Diversion Technique (ISDT™), an innovation that he conceived earlier in his career. The results of the study were the basis for the seminal study on initial specimen diversion, published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Dr. Patton patented initial specimen diversion for blood culture collection, both the technique, ISDT™, and the technology, ISDD®.  His mission in co-founding Magnolia Medical Technologies was to eliminate the patient harm resulting from unnecessary antibiotic treatment due to false-positive blood cultures.

Make an impact at your hospital by reducing blood culture contamination

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The Problem

Learn about the consequences of false-positive blood cultures

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Steripath Gen2

Blood culture collection & contamination prevention system

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The Benefits

The clinical & economic impact of reducing blood culture contamination

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The Evidence

Explore the independent clinical study results using Steripath

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1) R. Patton, et al; Innovation for Reducing Blood Culture Contamination: Initial Specimen Diversion Technique. Journal of Clinical Microbiology (December 2010)
2) Data on file
3) Diversion below 0.5mL has not been demonstrated in controlled clinical studies published in national peer-reviewed medical journals.