CMH Diagnostic Laboratory

Lab tests offer a quick and easy way to check for health problems during a routine checkup and can help your healthcare provider to make an accurate, timely diagnosis so the correct treatment can begin right away.

Laboratory tests analyze samples of a person’s body fluids, tissues or wastes. They help show if medication is working properly, causing side effects or not killing the bacteria it should.

Laboratory Tests

Red Blood Count (RBC) A low RBC may mean internal bleeding, poor diet or other conditions. A high count may mean heart disease, dehydration or other conditions.

White Blood Count (WBC) A low WBC may mean bone marrow or immune system problems or other conditions. A high count may mean infection, stress, leukemia (rare cases) or other conditions.

Complete Blood Count (CBC) Usually a CBC includes RBCs, WBCs and differntial counts for the differnt types of cells and Hematocrit and Hemaglobin.

Serology

Serology is the study of antibody and antigen reactions. The blood type and Rh factor is used to prevent problems with blood transfusions or due to the differences between a mother and her unborn child’s blood.

Antigens are the substances that cause a reaction in blood or tissue. Antibodies are produced to fight antigens in our body.

Blood Chemistry

Study of substances that are carried throughout your bloodstream.

  • Sugar- too much may mean diabetes. Too little may indicate gland, liver, pancreas or other problems.
  • Cholesterol- too much may clog your arteries.
  • Uric Acid- abnormal levels may mean gout, kidney problems, diabetes and other conditions.
  • Blood Urea Nirtogen (BUN)- abnormal levels may mean heart, urinary or liver problems or other conditions.
  • Bilirubin- abnormal levels may mean bile duct or liver problems, anemia or other conditions.
  • Creatinine- abnormal levels may mean kidney problems, diabetes or other conditions.
  • Drugs and Poisons- drug treatment can be monitored. Alcohol and illegal drugs can also be detected.
  • Calcium- abnormal levels may mean bone or gland problems.
  • Protein- abnormal levels may mean liver, stomach or kidney problems.

Other Testing

  • Biopsy- a small piece of tissue is taken using a needle or surgical instrument. This tissue is processed with special stains to assist the pathologist in making a diagnosis, which he/she will report to your provider.
    PAP Test- cells are collected with a brush or spatula by carefully scraping the cervix. This test is used to test for cervical cancer, infertility and other STDs.
  • Nasal or Throat Swab- cells are taken from the throat or nasal cavity and placed on special microbiology medium. Bacteria are grown for 24 hours and this helps to confirm bacterial infections such as Strep throat.
  • Spinal Tap- Fluid is taken by a syringe from around the spinal cord. This test looks for infections, tumors or other brain/nerve conditions.
  • Stool Sample- test are used to look for parasites, bacteria or cancer as well as hemorrhoids.
  • Sputum Test- patient will “cough up” a sputum specium. This can be tested for infectious bacteria, tuberculosis and cancer.

Lab Regulations

Laboratories are carefully monitored and regulated by The Joint Commission and College of American Pathologist to ensure the quality of care a patient receives meet state and federal regulations. The total time it takes to test a patient and provide the results to your provider depends on the nature of the test. The more complex a procedure or test the longer it will take to get results back to your provider. For example: a urine

analysis can take less than 10 minutes once it has been processed and ready to test. However, should it need a microscopic examination, it can take up to 40 minutes to complete, whereas a culture or tissue biopsy may take days or weeks depending upon your provider’s orders.

Who Performs Tests?

Phlebotomists will draw your blood or collect a specimen, which can be done in a physician’s office, clinic or hospital laboratory.

Laboratories performing moderated to high complexity tests are staffed by Laboratory Directors, Medical Laboratory Technicians, Medical Laboratory Technologists and Pathologists.

Laboratories performing high complexity testing must have highly specialized knowledge and skilled technologists to meet state and federal regulations.