Speciality Services

Sputum Induction

Sputum Induction


It is widely used to assess the following:

  • Airway inflammation in asthma - Curschmann's Spirals and Charcot Leyden crystals are popularly used to diagnose bronchial asthma.
  • Airway inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • It can be used as a complementary tool to BAL both in research and in clinical monitoring of patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD).
  • The cells, recovered from spontaneous coughing can be used to study lung cancer.
  • Respiratory infections
  • Diagnosis of pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus.
  • In developing countries having high prevalence of pulmonary tuberculosis, sputum induction (SI) can increase the diagnostic yield, resulting in better categorization of patients for treatment purposes.
  • Others - Cough due to gastroesophageal reflex disease (GRD) has shown increased macrophages laden with lipid in induced sputum.
Infection Control

Induction of sputum should only be conducted in a single room with a ventilation system that allows for the total exhausting of air from the room to the external environment.The minimum requirement is a single room with door closed and air exhausted to the outside of the building without recirculation. Gloves will be worn when handling specimens.Staff must ideally wear the recommended TB respiratory protection (P2 mask) while in the room and disposable gloves when handling sputum specimen(s).

Sputum Induction in child

Sputum Induction
Contraindications and Precautions
  • As hypertonic saline causes bronchoconstriction, the procedure should only be performed in children with asthma.
  • As the procedure induces severe coughing the procedure should not be performed in patients in whom severe coughing may be harmful
  • Relative contraindications include patients with
  • haemoptysis of unknown origin
  • acute respiratory distress
  • unstable cardiovascular status, (arrhythmias, angina)
  • thoracic, abdominal or cerebral aneurysms
  • hypoxia (SaO2 less than 90% on room air)
  • lung function impairment
  • pneumothorax
  • pulmonary emboli
  • fractured ribs or other chest trauma
  • recent eye surgery
Pre - procedure
  • Minimal fasting period of 2-3 hours is mandatory.
  • Assess the patient.
  • Consent to be taken.
  • Explain procedure to patient
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