Reference Index - Medical Tests

Back to Health Library

Sensitivity analysis

Definition:

Sensitivity analysis determines the effectiveness of antibiotics against microorganisms such as bacteria that have been isolated from cultures.

Sensitivity analysis may be performed along with:



Alternative Names:

Antibiotic sensitivity



How the test is performed:

Colonies of microorganisms are combined with different antibiotics to see how well each antibiotic stops each colony from growing. The test determines the effectiveness of each antibiotic against a particular organism.



How to prepare for the test:

There is no special preparation.



How the test will feel:

The way the test feels depends upon the method used for obtaining the specific culture.



Why the test is performed:

The test shows which antibiotic drugs should be used to treat an infection.

Because many organisms continue to show resistance against various antibiotics, sensitivity tests have become more and more important. Your doctor may start you on one antibiotic, but later change you to another one because of the results of sensitivity analysis.



Normal Values:



What abnormal results mean:

If the organism shows drug resistance to the antibiotics used in the test, then those antibiotics will not be effective treatment.



What the risks are:

The risks depend upon the method used for obtaining the specific culture.



Special considerations:



References:

Smith MB, Woods GL. In vitro testing of antimicrobial agents. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 21st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2006:chap 57.




Review Date: 3/14/2009
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Greater Baltimore Medical Center | 6701 North Charles Street | Baltimore, MD 21204 | (443) 849-2000 | TTY (800) 735-2258
© 2014  GBMC. This website is for informational purposes only and not intended as medical advice or a substitute for a consultation with a professional healthcare provider.