Q:

How do you read lab results?

A:

Quick Answer

When reading laboratory results, take note of the test performed, the test result and the normal reference ranges. All lab reports contain certain items as required by law, according to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.

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Full Answer

When reading a lab report, make sure the patient name and identification number belong to the right person. The date on the report is also important, as it enables you to know when the tests were performed. Information such as the name of the ordering doctor and the laboratory in which the tests were performed are also written on the lab report, explains the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.

When reading a lab result, take note of the specimen type, whether it was blood, urine or other biological fluid being analyzed. The name of the test performed may be written in short form. Look up the name of the test to find out more information on the specific test. Abnormal test results are usually highlighted in a lab report. For example, critically abnormal results may be marked with an asterisk. The normal or reference ranges are sometimes indicated in the report. If the result falls outside of the reference ranges, the result may be highlighted as an abnormal result, notes the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.

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