Microscopy and culture

A mid-stream specimen of urine (MSSU) is collected, taking precautions to minimize contamination. Microscopy also allows red blood cells to be identified. If a urine infection is present, pus cells will be seen and bacteria will grow on the culture plates. If pus cells are present without evidence of infection (sterile pyuria), tuberculosis should be considered and special stains and culture medium used. Any bacterial cultured is tested for antibiotic sensitivities, according to local protocols.

Phase contrast microscopy allows the shape of the red blood cells to be assessed. They may be abnormal (dysmor-phic) in glomerular bleeding.

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