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Culture, Nasopharyngeal/Nasal

Test Code


CPT Code(s)



If culture is positive, identification will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 87077 or 87143 or 87147 or 87140 or 87149).
Antibiotic susceptibilities are only performed when appropriate (CPT code(s): 87181 or 87184 or 87185 or 87186).

Preferred Specimen(s)

Nasopharyngeal (NP), nasal passages and paranasal sinus drainage

See the alphabetical listing in the Microbiology section of Specimen Collection and Handling for further instructions.

Minimum Volume

One transport swab

Alternative Specimen(s)

Nasal wash or fluid

Collection Instructions

Collect specimen using a mini-tip culture swab transport device. Indicate source of specimen on both the test requisition and specimen transport device.

Transport Container

Transport swab (mini-tip with thin wire shaft in Amies gel medium)

Transport Temperature

Room temperature

Specimen Stability

Deliver to the Microbiology laboratory as soon as possible

Transport swab
Room temperature: 48 hours

Reject Criteria

Requests for anaerobic culture • Expired transport device • Frozen specimens


Bacteriologic culture.  Aerobic includes routine isolation and identification procedures.  Antibiotic susceptibility testing when appropriate.

Performing Laboratory

Quest Diagnostics-Seattle
1737 Airport Way S Suite 200
Seattle, WA 98134-1636

Clinical Significance

Culture of the nose (as opposed to nasopharynx) is primarily for the detection of Staphylococcus aureus. The significance of other organisms is difficult to assess since this site and its discharges can easily be colonized by a variety of organisms.

Alternative Name(s)

Adenoids Culture, Nose Culture, Tonsils Culture, Nasopharyngeal Culture, Inner Ear Culture, NP Culture, Nasal Culture

LOINC®' Code(s)

The Result and LOINC information listed below should not be used for electronic interface maintenance with Quest Diagnostics. Please contact the Quest Diagnostics Connectivity Help Desk for more information at 800-697-9302.

NOTE: The codes listed in the table below are not orderable Test Codes.

Result NameLOINC CodeComponent Name
75400015CULTURE10353-1Bacteria identified

Reference ranges are provided as general guidance only. To interpret test results use the reference range in the laboratory report.

The CPT codes provided are based on AMA guidelines and are for informational purposes only. CPT coding is the sole responsibility of the billing party. Please direct any questions regarding coding to the payer being billed.

LOINC assignment is based on a combination of test attributes, including the method used by the performing laboratory. For tests not performed by Quest Diagnostics, codes are assigned by the performing laboratory.

* The tests listed by specialist are a select group of tests offered. For a complete list of Quest Diagnostics tests, please refer to our Directory of Services.