A fecal swab sample may either be a rectal swab sample or a stool swab sample. Both sample types are preserved in a vial of medium and transported to a laboratory for testing that will help clinicians in the diagnosis of a range of gastrointestinal bacterial infections.
Fecal stool swab vs fecal rectal swab
A fecal stool swab is typically collected by a patient at home and transferred to a healthcare setting, where a qualified professional inserts and rotates the provided collection swab into the sample before adding the sample swab into the vial of medium. A fecal rectal swab, however, is used by clinicians to collect samples directly from the rectum in a healthcare setting, and processed immediately by inserting and rotating the sample swab into the vial of medium. This diagnostic tool can be used to identify specific bacteria in the rectum that may be the cause of a range of gastrointestinal symptoms and illnesses.
Either sample can be added to the vial of medium using a flocked swab. The vial of medium is specially designed to preserve the viability of bacteria during transport from the collection site to the testing laboratory. It is important to ensure that the swab uses compatible transport media for accurate lab results.
What’s included in a fecal swab kit?
A fecal swab kit includes everything that is needed to collect and preserve a rectal or stool sample for laboratory analysis. This includes:
A sterile pouch that contains a swab applicator for fecal rectal specimen collection or fecal stool specimen processing. It is critical that swabs not be used if the sterile peel has been damaged in any way.
A vial containing a transport medium. The vial should contain a secure lid, typically a screw-cap.
Directions for use. Since fecal stool samples can be collected at home by patients, it is important to provide clear directions for proper collection and handling of samples. Careful handling prevents changes in the microbiological conditions of the sample.
The transport medium is specifically designed to preserve microorganisms during transport. This medium is made up of a salt solution containing phosphates and chloride salts that provide a buffering capability. Other included ingredients may ensure an oxygen-reduced environment that helps maintain the viability of pathogens during transport.
Best results occur when the specimen is stored according to the manufacturer’s instructions and processed rapidly after collection. This information is provided by the manufacturer, Puritan Medical Products. If you need more information about how to collect fecal samples click here for more guidance.