Are Chemical Abbreviations Used in Laboratory Test Results?


Quick Answer

Laboratories may use chemical abbreviations on medical test reports, but many include chemical names beside abbreviations. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule allowing patients access to their laboratory test reports.

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Full Answer

This rule does not prevent laboratories from using chemical abbreviations on test results, however, and patients may still see unfamiliar abbreviations such as K for potassium or ADT for adenosine triphosphate. In addition to including chemical names beside abbreviations on reports, some laboratories have responded to the rule by providing patients with guides to deciphering them. Online resources, such as NewportNaturalHealth.com and LabTestsOnline.org, provide guides that explain commonly used abbreviations and help patients understand their significance.

Laboratory results for non-medical tests, such as those that measure soil composition or air quality, are unaffected by the rule and the use of chemical abbreviations is at the discretion of the laboratory.

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