Acid-Fast Bacillus (AFB) Culture and AFB Stain with Reflex to Mycobacterium tuberculosis Amplified Direct Detection
Ordering Recommendation
1-62 days
Stain: 24 hours; Final negative after 8 weeks
Positive cultures are reported as soon as detected
New York DOH Approval Status
This test is New York DOH approved.
Specimen Required
Patient Preparation
Three sputum specimens should be collected at 8-24 hour intervals (24 hours when possible) and should include at least one first-morning specimen. An individual order must be submitted for each specimen.  
Respiratory specimen.  
Specimen Preparation
Transfer (for each collection) 5-10 mL respiratory specimen to a sterile container. (Min: 1 mL) Place each specimen in an individually sealed bag.  
Storage/Transport Temperature
Unacceptable Conditions
Multiple same-site specimens (more than one in 24 hours), dry material, or material collected and transported on a swab. Specimens other than respiratory.  
Specimen source required.  
Ambient: Unacceptable; Refrigerated: 1 week; Frozen: 2 weeks  
Reference Interval
Culture negative for acid-fast bacilli.
Identification ordered and performed on positives.
Susceptibility performed on all initial isolates of M. tuberculosis complex.
Susceptibility performed on Mycobacterium other than M. tuberculosis complex isolates by request only.
Susceptibility testing of M. gordonae is inappropriate.
Interpretive Data
AFB stain, AFB identification of positives, and susceptibility tests are billed separately from culture. Identification of positive culture is billed by individual DNA probes and tests performed. Mycobacterium tuberculosis Amplified Direct Detection will be performed on AFB stain positive specimens. Additional charges apply.
CPT Code(s)
87116 Culture. CPT codes for identification and susceptibility vary based on method. If reflexed, add 87556 Amplified probe.
Component Test Code*Component Chart Name
0060738Culture, AFB reflex to MTD
* Component test codes cannot be used to order tests. The information provided here is not sufficient for interface builds; for a complete test mix, contact interface support at
Cross References
  • AFS, Auramine-rhodamine stain
  • AO stain
  • AR stain
  • GeneXpert
  • MTD
  • Mycobacterium