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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 ?
Microscopic sputum analysis is a labor-intensive and tedious process requiring trained technologists to analyze hundreds of glass slide samples per day, in a manual process that is prone to fatigue and human error.
If spirometry is abnormal, the next steps are sputum analysis and low radiation dose spiral CT or electron beam CT (EBT) scans.
1) Spirometry -- blowing into a simple device that measures air volume and flow 2) Sputum analysis -- cellular examination of the mucus matter that collects in the respiratory and upper digestive passages and is expelled by coughing 3) CT or EBT Scanning -- non-invasive, low radiation dose lung scan that gives anatomical information about abnormalities in the lungs.