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❶Sometimes a report will also include the name of other health practitioners requesting a copy of your report. This article points out some of the different sections that may be found on a typical lab report and explains some of the information that may be found in those sections.

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Sometimes a report will also include the name of other health practitioners requesting a copy of your report. For example, a specialist may order tests and request that a copy of the results be sent to your primary healthcare provider. Other elements found on reports deal with the specimen that was collected and with the test itself: Specimen source, when appropriate.

Some tests can be performed on more than one type of sample. Date and time of specimen collection. Some test results may be affected by the day and time of sample collection. This information may help your health practitioner interpret the results. For example, blood levels of drugs are affected by the time a dose of the drug was last taken, so results of the test and its interpretation can be affected by when the sample was collected. Number s assigned to the sample s when it arrives at the laboratory.

Some labs will have a single accession number for all your tests and other labs may have multiple accession numbers that help the lab identify the samples. Name of the test performed. Test names are often abbreviated on lab reports. You may want to look for abbreviated test names in the pull down menu on the home page of this site or type the acronym into the search box to find information on specific tests. Some results are written as numbers when a substance is measured in a sample as with a cholesterol level quantitative.

Other reports may simply give a positive or negative result as in pregnancy tests qualitative. Still others may include text, such as the name of bacteria for the result of a sample taken from an infected site. Lab reports will often draw attention to results that are abnormal or outside the reference range see "Reference intervals" below by setting them apart or highlighting them in some way. For example, "H" next to a result may mean that it is higher than the reference range.

Those results that are dangerously abnormal must be reported immediately to the responsible person, such as the ordering physician. Units of measurement for quantitative results.

The units of measurement that labs use to report your results can vary from lab to lab. It is similar to the way, for example, your health practitioner chooses to record your weight during an examination.

He or she may decide to note your weight in pounds or in kilograms. In this same way, labs may choose to use different units of measurement for your test results. Regardless of the units that the lab uses, your results will be interpreted in relation to the reference ranges supplied by the laboratory. Reference intervals or reference ranges. The ranges that appear on your report are established and supplied by the laboratory that performed your test. They are made available to the health practitioner who requested the test s and to other health care providers to aid in the interpretation of the results.

In certain circumstances, the lab may note on the report what certain test results may indicate. This type of information may include a variety of situations in which the specimen was not the best possible sample needed for testing. In some cases, the condition of the specimen may preclude analysis the test is not run and results are not generated or may generate additional comments directing the use of caution in interpreting results.

Deviations from test preparation procedures. Some tests have specific procedures to follow before a sample is collected or a test is performed. If such procedures are not followed for some reason, it may be noted on the report. For example, if a patient forgets to fast before having a glucose test performed, the report may reflect this fact. Excess biotin in the blood from supplements can cause some, but not all, lab test results to be either falsely increased or falsely decreased, causing healthcare practitioners to misdiagnose and mistreat their patients.

Screening tests include self-checks, clinical exams, non-laboratory tests such as Follow that Throat Culture: A Short Lab Tour. Find out what happens to your throat swab as you follow the steps of a throat culture in a laboratory. Follow That Blood Sample: Find out as you follow a blood sample through the laboratory. Reference Ranges and What They Mean.

A reference range is a set of values that includes upper and lower limits of a lab test based on a group of otherwise healthy people. By comparing your test results with reference values, you and your healthcare provider can see if any of your test results fall outside the range of expected values and gain clues to help identify possible conditions or diseases.

Deciphering Your Lab Report. People now have direct access to their laboratory test results. Learn how to read your laboratory report so that you can better understand your results and have an informed discussion with your healthcare practitioner.

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