Clinical correlation is recommended when results from a diagnostic test, including biopsies, x-rays or MRIs, are abnormal. In this instance, the physician uses a combination of results from the diagnostic test and an individual's age, previous medical history, clinical test and other relevant results to make a definitive diagnosis.
According to New Health Guide, physicians often rely on a clinical correlation after a patient's image or tissue scan is abnormal or suspicious. During a clinical correlation, the healthcare provider compares and contrasts the patient's clinical findings. Such findings may include signs or symptoms of a certain disease or condition, such as swollen lymph nodes. For example, a patient with swollen lymph nodes along with fatigue may undergo a scan, such as an x-ray, to determine whether an underlying cause is visible through imaging. In the event that an abnormality is present in the imaging, the physician may make a diagnosis based on symptoms, the patient's age and history and other criteria.