Preferred Sample Type

Wound, Ulcer, skin swab culture & susceptibility.

Sample Preparation

If unable to send immeadiately please refrigerate sample

Turnaround Time

3 days

Sample Stability

Specimen stored for a week

Wound, Ulcer, skin swab culture & susceptibility.

General Information

New Liquid culture swabs replacing the old charcoal swabs from 06/06/12 onwards. Please make sure no charcoal swabs are sent otherwise they will be rejected. Please refer to clinical bacteriology section in Microbiology services

Patient Preparation

Skin swabs

  • For cutaneous sampling, moisten swab with sterile saline and roll e-swab along the area of skin to be sampled.

Wound swabs

  • Rotate the e-swab swab tip over a 1 cm square area of viable tissue, at or near the centre of the wound for 5 seconds, applying enough pressure to express tissue fluid from the wound bed.
  • If the wound is dry, the tip of the swab should be moistened with sterile saline.
  • NB: If pus is present, it should be aspirated using a sterile syringe and decanted into a sterile specimen pot.

Ulcer swabs

  • Cleanse the wound with tap water or saline to remove surface contaminants.
  • Slough and necrotic tissue should also be removed.
  • Swab viable tissue displaying signs of infection whilst rotating the e-swab.


Order liquid swabs from requisition form provided to your department.


  • EQA Scheme?: Yes
  • EQA Status: NEQAS

The laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital form part of the services provided by University Hospitals Birmingham and are UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited to the ISO 15189:2012 standard. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the UKAS website using the following link:

  • Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospital pathology laboratories are a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8217
  • United Kingdom Health Security Agency laboratory is a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8213

Tests not appearing on the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further test information, please visit the test database:

Protection of personal information - Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and its employees to comply with the Data Protection act  1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235