Common Questions About Your Lab Tests

When will I have blood tests done?

Most lab tests are collected between 4:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. Some patients need only a couple of blood tests during their stay. Many patients need blood tests each morning. A patient being closely monitored may require a blood test two, three or four times a day.

Who will collect and test my blood?

Your blood will be collected and tested by professionally accredited members of the laboratory staff. A medical doctor specializing in the area of laboratory medicine oversees the laboratory.

Where will my blood test be done?

Your blood tests will be done at the Mary Greeley Medical Center Laboratory located on the first floor of the medical center. The laboratory is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How long will it take for my blood tests to be finished?

Your blood test results will be immediately available electronically to your physician as soon as they are finished. If your physician is not connected through our laboratory’s electronic medical record, the results can be faxed or mailed. Most tests that are performed at Mary Greeley Medical Center will take about an hour. For those tests that are sent to a reference lab, they may take 24, 48 hours or longer, depending on the test.

What happens to the results of my blood tests?

Results of your blood tests will be reported to the doctors and nurses caring for you and become a part of your permanent medical record.

Common Blood Tests: What They Are and Why Your Doctor Ordered Them

Complete Blood Count (CBC) The complete blood count is one of the most common blood tests and is usually done as part of a routine check-up. In the CBC test, the different types of cells in the blood are counted and examined. Abnormal results may indicate anemia, blood loss, infection or leukemia. If you are being monitored for one of these conditions, your doctor may order this test at least once a day.

Electrolytes Maintaining salt and water balance is critical for good health. The electrolyte panel consists of tests (includes sodium and potassium)that indicate the concentration of salt and water in your body. Electrolyte imbalance may be caused by dehydration from vomiting or diarrhea, kidney disease, or congestive heart failure. Electrolyte levels can change rapidly so your doctor may order this test at least once a day.

Basic Metabolic Panel In addition to electrolytes, this group of tests include BUN, creatinine and glucose. BUN and creatinine are blood waste products and measure kidney function. Glucose measures the amount of sugar in your blood and is used to detect and monitor diabetes. The physician may need to see results from this test each day.

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel This includes those from the Basic Metabolic Panel as well as additional tests for liver function and bone health. Changes in liver function tests may be due to effects of medications or liver disease.

Protime or PTT These tests are used to verify normal blood clotting function and to monitor anticoagulant (blood-thinner) therapy. If you are being treated for heart attack, stroke, or a blood clot you will probably have this test done several times throughout the day.

Cardiac Enzymes Cardiac Enzymes are released from damaged heart tissue into the blood stream. Knowing the level of these enzymes in your blood helps your physician determine if you have had a heart attack. If you are in the hospital for a heart attack or chest pain, you will have this test done several times during the first 24 hours of your stay.

Blood Culture A blood culture detects and identifies bacteria in the bloodstream. Blood cultures usually require two separate samples in a short period of time.

Transfusion If you require a blood transfusion, you will be given blood that has been donated by healthy volunteers, tested to make sure it is safe and checked to match your blood type.

Have another question?

Please contact Laboratory Services at Mary Greeley Medical Center at 515-239-2123.

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