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Related to Sputum analysis: sputum cytology


1. a mass of salivary matter ejected from the mouth
2. saliva ejected from the mouth mixed with mucus or pus exuded from the respiratory passages, as in bronchitis or bronchiectasis



pathological secretions from the respiratory tract that are discharged with a cough; they are the product of the overactivity of the mucous glands. Sputum often contains epithelial cells, bits of lung tissue, blood, and pus. The amount of sputum, as well as its appearance, is important in the diagnosis of disease.

Sputum may be mucous, purulent, serous, bloody, or mixed. Rusty sputum (sputum mixed with and colored by blood) is a sign of lobar pneumonia. Abundant purulent sputum is characteristic of a ruptured abscess in the lungs. Gray, dirty, malodorous sputum appears when there is putrefactive decomposition of lung tissue.

Sputum may be examined in a laboratory with the aid of a microscope and also by bacteriological and cytological analyses. Laboratory examination makes it possible to detect pathogenic microorganisms (including the causative agent of tuberculosis), cells of malignant tumors, and certain other elements that are characteristic of certain diseases, and to determine the sensitivity of bacterial flora to antibiotics.


Material discharged from the surface of the respiratory passages, mouth, or throat; may contain saliva, mucus, pus, microorganisms, blood, or inhaled particulate matter in any combination.
References in periodicals archive ?
Sixty-three untreated TB patients were recruited from the Mthatha General Hospital pulmonary clinic; these patients came to the clinic with the classic symptoms of TB and the condition was confirmed by sputum analysis.
While these studies suggest the need for re-evaluation of routine sputum analysis, the strength of their conclusions are weakened by lack of randomization, small sample size, inadequate blinding, and lack of control group comparison.
As to whether sputum analysis is useful, the results are mixed.
A sputum analysis is necessary to confirm diagnosis in adults, but this is a notoriously difficult test to perform with children, who are not as likely as adults to have productive coughs.