Blood Diversion/Culture Contamination

Video length: 58 minutes


Blood culture contamination continues to be a serious problem in clinical laboratories, contributing to increased cost of hospital care and patient exposure to unnecessary antibiotics that may lead to antibiotic resistance. Blood diversion — the practice of discarding or excluding the first part of a venipuncture collection for blood culture — is increasingly being adopted by health systems to systematically address (and lower) blood culture contamination rates. In this presentation, Dr. Brad Karon and Michele Legried will address the evidence behind blood diversion as a mechanism to lower blood culture contamination rates and discuss the experience at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus with a pilot of one blood diversion device.

Originally posted: November 16, 2022


Photo of Brad Karon, M.D., Ph.D.

Brad Karon, M.D., Ph.D. 

Division Chair, Clinical Core Laboratory Services 
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology 
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Photo of Michele Legried

Michele Legried

Quality Specialist 
Laboratory Services 
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Define blood culture contamination.
  • List the downstream cost and care consequences of blood culture contamination.
  • Describe considerations and potential obstacles to implementing a blood diversion device in a hospital phlebotomy practice to reduce blood culture contamination.

Intended audience

This series is appropriate for phlebotomists, phlebotomy managers, phlebotomy educators, and other patient care staff involved in specimen collection.


The following types of credit are offered for this event:


Mayo Clinic Laboratories is approved as a provider of continuing education programs in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences by the ASCLS P.A.C.E.® program. This program has been approved for a maximum of 1.0 P.A.C.E.® contact hour.

State of Florida

Mayo Clinic Laboratories is approved as a Continuing Education Accrediting Agency for the Clinical Laboratory Sciences for the State of Florida. Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel has designated this program for General credit. This program has been approved for 1.0 contact hour.

To obtain credit

1. Watch the video.

2. Complete the posttest and evaluation that launches immediately following the program.

3. Generate and print your certificate(s).

Level of instruction for this program is intermediate.

Credit expires: 11/16/24

Faculty disclosure

Course director(s), planning committee, faculty, and all others who are in a position to control the content of this educational activity are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest related to the subject matter of the educational activity. Safeguards against commercial bias have been put in place. Faculty members also will disclose any off-label and/or investigational use of pharmaceuticals or instruments discussed in their presentations. Disclosure of this information will be published in course materials so those participants in the activity may formulate their own judgments regarding the presentations.


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This post was developed by our Education and Technical Publications Team.