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One of the most frequently performed tests at clinical laboratories are ones involving blood samples. Referred to as hematology testing, tests on blood can be done specifically to confirm a medical diagnosis.
- Such tests may be more routine in nature, as is often the case when certain conditions need to be monitored on a regular basis.
- Routine hematology tests are useful for practitioners within most medical specialties involving the care of children and adults.
One of the most frequently performed tests at clinical laboratories are ones involving blood samples. Referred to as hematology testing, tests on blood can be done specifically to confirm a medical diagnosis. Such tests may be more routine in nature, as is often the case when certain conditions need to be monitored on a regular basis. Routine hematology tests are useful for practitioners within most medical specialties involving the care of children and adults.
Full Blood Count
Also referred to as a complete blood count (CBC), a full blood count is a routine hematology test that involves a counting or tallying of the total number of white and red blood cells and platelets present in a blood sample. A full blood count may be ordered to determine:
- Possible reasons for symptoms such as general weakness or fatigue
- How well the body is fighting an infection
- Whether or not a patient is anemic (low red blood cell counts)
A platelet function test (prothrombin time test) is done to measure the amount of time it takes for blood to clot. It’s a routine hematology test sometimes ordered to determine if clotting medication is working.
A blood film test (blood smear) is done to check for abnormalities in blood cells. It’s often ordered as a follow-up test when a full blood count produces abnormal results. Blood filming may be performed to:
- Detect blood parasites
- Flag abnormally shaped blood cells
- Identify immature cells (reticulocyte stain)
An indirect Coombs test is a common blood test involving pregnant women. It may also be ordered prior to a blood transfusion to check blood types and compatibility. A direct Coombs test may be ordered to confirm a diagnosis of autoimmune hemolytic anemia.
Bone Marrow Tests
Hematology testing of bone marrow may be done to determine how cancer is affecting blood cells. Samples are examined to look for any changes in blood cells in marrow.
Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
Inflammation activity may be evaluated with an ESR blood test. It’s a non-specific and routine test that may also be used to detect various forms of cancer, infections, and autoimmune diseases.
This routine test is performed to determine the nature of a rash. Such lesions may be linked to blood vessels (vascular), non-vascular, or produced by a hemorrhage (hemorrhagic).
Macro molecules are separated by size when this common hematology test is performed. It’s often used to examine proteins in blood.
Chromosomal disorders or abnormalities are often identified with karyotyping. It’s a test that may be ordered for patients who are exhibiting problems with growth, development, and body functions.
An important part of routine hematology testing is the clear documentation of the results. The data presented to various medical professionals is often used to determine how well a patient is managing their condition, or to help make a diagnosis of a specific condition. Such information may also be used to decide whether or not medication adjustments are necessary for patients.