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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 168-174

Laboratory perspective of gram staining and its significance in investigations of infectious diseases


1 Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja, Nigeria
2 Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Yunusa Thairu
Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, P.M.B. 228, Gwagwalada, Abuja
Nigeria
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DOI: 10.4103/2384-5147.144725

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Clinical microbiology laboratory plays several important roles in the management of bacterial infections. Isolation, identification of pathogenic microorganisms in cultures and subsequent antimicrobial susceptibility testing always assists in selecting appropriate antimicrobial agent and prevention of unnecessary complications. The most important and primary test to perform directly on some special samples such as cerebrospinal fluid and positive cultures is Gram staining which serves as the most rapid and simplest test to characterize microorganisms. It is therefore highly likely that the information provided by the Gram staining will help to assess the adequacy of preliminary diagnosis and antimicrobial therapy selected after collecting culture specimens and before final identification of the microorganism. In recent reports, the impact of Gram staining results on patient mortality has been documented. On the other hand, there remains the possibility that Gram staining results do not match with the final identification of microorganisms. This would carry a risk leading to inadequate antimicrobial therapy and potentially affecting patients' clinical course and mortality. The aim of this mini review is to analyze and discuss the clinical significance and limitations of reporting Gram staining results for sample meant for bacteriological investigations.


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