William J. Elliott, MD, PhD
To the Editors: Krumholz and colleagues (1) recently reported no differences between "false-positive" blood cultures injected into the culture medium, using either the original phlebotomy needle or a new, sterile needle. Unfortunately, the rates of such "false-positive" cultures were so low that their recommendations not to "switch" needles may not be based on a sufficient number of patients to support their conclusions. The group with "switched" needles incurred only a 1.3% rate of false-positive cultures, whereas the group using the original needles had a 1.55% false-positive rate.
Because of the very low occurrence rates of false-positive cultures, the well-known nomograms
Elliott WJ. Switching Phlebotomy Needles. Ann Intern Med. ;114:94–95. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-114-1-94
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1991;114(1):94-95.
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