Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
(603) 742-5252
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Physicians
Site Search

Definition:

Joint fluid gram stain is a laboratory test to identify bacteria in a sample of joint fluid using a special series of stains (colors). The gram stain method is one of the most commonly used methods to rapidly diagnose bacterial infections.



Alternative Names:

Gram stain of joint fluid



How the test is performed:

A sample of joint fluid is needed. For information on how this procedure is done, see joint fluid aspiration .

The fluid sample is sent to a lab where a small drop is placed in a very thin layer onto a microscope slide. This is called a smear. Several different colored stains are applied to the sample. The laboratory personnel will look at the stained smear under a microscope to see if bacteria are present. The color, size, and shape of the cells help identify the bacteria.



How to prepare for the test:

For information on how to prepare for the removal of joint fluid, see joint fluid aspiration .



How the test will feel:

For information on how it will feel when the joint fluid is removed, see joint fluid aspiration .



Why the test is performed:

The test is performed when there is unexplained swelling, joint pain , and inflammation of a joint, or to check for suspected joint infection.



Normal Values:

A normal result means no bacteria are present on the gram stain.

Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.



What abnormal results mean:

Abnormal results mean bacteria were seen on the gram stain. This may be a sign of a joint infection (for example, gonococcal arthritis ).



What the risks are:

There is no risk to the patient associated with a gram stain. For information regarding risks related to the removal of joint fluid, see joint fluid aspiration .




Review Date: 12/3/2007
Reviewed By: D. Scott Smith, M.D., MSc, DTM&H, Chief of Infectious Disease & Geographic Medicine, Kaiser Redwood City, CA & Adjunct Assistant Professor, Stanford University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Find What You Need

Events
Careers
Foundation
About Us
Contact
Directions
News
Social Media Agreement
Joint Notice
Web Privacy Policy
WDH Staff Portal

Centers & Services

Cancer Center
Cardiovascular Care
Joint Replacement
Women & Children's
Physician Offices
Other Services

Conditions & Treatments

Health Information
Ebola Information

Support Services

Support Groups
Care-Van
Dental Center
Social Work
Food & Nutrition
Integrative Wellness
Spiritual Care
Concerns & Grievances
Homecare and Hospice

For Patients

Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Interpreter Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Record Request
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials

For Healthcare Professionals

Work and Life
Financial Well-Being
Career and Growth

The Wentworth-Douglass Health System includes:

 

Address

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100