Test basics

In this section of the site, we provide information on the following:

  • Sample collection: General information on how sample collection, handling and storage can affect results of clinical pathologic testing. Specific details on sample collection for hematologic, hemostasis, urinalysischemistry and cytologic test results are given in each related section.
  • Test interpretation: General principles of interpreting results of clinical pathologic testing, e.g. pattern recognition.
  • Quality assurance: How to get the best out of your equipment and to trust your results, such as by using quality control material.
  • Reference intervals: How population-based reference intervals and subject-based reference values (critical differences or reference change values) are established and pros and cons of each method with tips on when to use.
  • Non-disease variables affecting test results: Pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical variables.
  • Interferences: Important pre-analytical variables are lipemia, hemolysis and icterus, which can markedly affect interpretation of test results and accuracy of results. Information on how these affect results of testing are provided here. See also interference indexes, which are numerical results of these interferences provided by our chemistry analyzer.
  • Common artifacts: A quick reference table on factors that affect clinical pathologic results, such as lipemia, hemolysis (more specific detail is provided below under interferences), storage of blood on cells, delayed sample submission, post-mortem artifacts.
  • Physiologic patterns: Changes you can expect to see as a consequence of physiology, e.g. prematurity.

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