November 1973

Early Diagnosis of Bacteremia by Buffy-Coat Examinations

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, University of Washington, and Harborview Medical Center, Seattle. Dr. Brooks is now at the Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis.

Arch Intern Med. 1973;132(5):673-675. doi:10.1001/archinte.1973.03650110029006

A smear of leukocytes from the buffy-coat layer was obtained when peripheral blood specimens were taken for culture. Fourteen of 135 blood cultures were positive, and five of the 14, from three patients, showed Gram-positive intracellular organisms on Gram stain of the buffy-coat layer. Grampositive cocci were seen in two of three patients with staphylococcal bacteremia and Gram-positive rods in one patient with Clostridium perfringens bacteremia. These two cases illustrate the diagnostic role of the buffy-coat smear and its use in the early diagnosis of bacteremia.