[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 13, 1982


JAMA. 1982;248(6):649. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330060017022

To the Editor.—  We received several calls from physicians who were alarmed by reports in their patients' hospital charts of positive blood culture results for Neisseria gonorrhoeae. A quick analysis disclosed a total of 12 positive blood culture results obtained on the same day from 12 different patients. None of the patients had a clinically compatible syndrome. In checking with the original work sheets in the laboratory, all blood culture results had been reported as negative. Further investigation showed that the computer had printed out a positive cervical culture result for N gonorrhoeae just before printing out the 12 erroneous blood culture reports. A subtle mistake in the computer program resulted in this computer printout error. The computer error was subsequently corrected, and amended reports were sent.True bacteremia is defined as the presence of bacteria in the patient's bloodstream, while pseudobacteremia has denoted a false-positive blood culture result. Pseudobacteremia