Catheter Tip Culture

Test Mnemonic


CPT Codes

  • 87070 - QTY (1)




  • Cath Tip Culture
  • Catheter Culture

Performing Laboratory

Cleveland Clinic Laboratories

Specimen Requirements

Volume Type Container Collect Temperature Transport Temperature Special Instructions
OneCatheterClean containerAmbient Aseptically remove catheter and clip 5cm of distal tip directly into a sterile container.


Environmental Condition Description
Ambient24 hours

Days Performed

Sun - Sat

Turnaround Time

7 days


Name Description
Culture, Identification 

Reference Range

Special Info

Culture performed on intravascular catheter tips (eg, central, CVP, Hickman, Broviac, Peripheral, arterial, umbilical, hyperalimentation, Swan-Ganz). Cleanse skin around catheter site with alcohol. Aseptically remove catheter and clip 5 cm of distal tip directly into a sterile container. If culture is positive, identification will be performed on clinically significant organisms at an additional charge. Identification CPT codes that may apply include: 87077, 87106, 87107, 87153. Antimicrobial susceptibilities are performed when indicated, and the following CPT codes may apply: 87181, 87184, 87185, 87186. Foley catheter tips, chest tube tips and abdominal drainage tips are not acceptable for culture.

Clinical Info

Blood cultures are the essential test for diagnosing catheter-related bacteremia. The clinical relevance of catheter tip cultures is controversial. A positive culture may indicate contamination during removal.