Acid Fast Bacilli (AFB) Specimen Concentration

Laboratory Fee Schedule

Procedure: MAG0066A

CPT: 87015


Acid Fast Bacilli (AFB) Specimen Concentration


Mycobacteria specimen concentration, specimen decontamination, specimen digestion

Requisition Form


Test Description

Processing of non-sterile specimens for the growth and detection of mycobacteria

Pre-Approval Needed


Supplemental Information Required


Supplemental Form(s)


Performed on Specimens from (sources)

  • Sputum
  • Exudate
  • Stool
  • Badly contaminated tissues/body fluids

Sample/Specimen Type for Testing

Clinical specimen

Minimum Volume/Size Required

3 mL to 15 mL

Storage/Preservation Prior to Shipping

Transport specimen as soon as possible on cold pack. If transport is delayed over one hour, refrigerate specimen.

Transport Medium

Do not use transport medium. A sterile, leak-proof, 50 mL conical tube preferred for primary container. Add up to 10 mL sterile saline to tissue if needed to maintain moisture during transport.

Specimen Labeling

  • Two patient-specific identifiers required (e.g., patient full name, date of birth, Medical record number)
  • Identifiers on specimen must exactly match submission form.

Shipping and Specimen Handling Requirements

  • Ship according to Dangerous Goods Regulations, IATA, and/or CFR 49
  • Category B shipping applies    

Ship on frozen cold packs if at all possible!


N-Acetyl-L-cysteine (NALC)- sodium hydroxide (NaOH) digestion-decontamination

Turn-around Time



Delay in transport of specimen could compromise isolation of organism.

Common Causes for Rejection

  • Specimen leaked in transit. 
  • Missing identifier(s) on specimen container. 
  • No test requested on G-MYCO requisition form. 
  • Specimens received frozen, in formalin, or in culture medium will be rejected. 
  • Swabs are discouraged unless the only specimen available; submit swabs in 5 mL sterile saline. 
  • Gastric specimens must be neutralized prior to transport.

Additional Information

  • Mycobacteria are recovered optimally from clinical specimens when methods both to release them from body fluids and cells (digestion) and remove/reduce competing organisms (decontamination) are used.