The need for frequent blood cultures from small babies for the early detection of bacteraemia associated with internal prosthesis colonization led to the development of a method for capillary blood collection. Fingers, toes, or heels were sterilized as well as possible, the surface was coated with sterile petroleum jelly, and sufficient blood was collected aseptically for aerobic broth culture and agar pour plates.
From 242 patients, mostly babies with hydrocephalus and ventriculoatrial shunts, 740 cultures were collected; 135 (19%) cultures were positive and 32 (4·3%) were judged to be contaminated. A comparison between the results of capillary and venous blood cultures is made.
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