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Course of LABORATORY MEDICINE
Standard blood tests; tests of organ function
It is very common for the physician to prescribe a routine selection of "standard" blood tests (or, for the patient, to have one), e.g. during general screening or as an instrument of preventive medicine aimed at the early diagnosis of yet asymptomatic conditions (secondary prevention).
Standard blood tests may vary somewhat; however they usually include the hemochromocytometric test (the quantitation of red cells, of the various types of white cells and of platelets; hemoglobin concentration), total protein concentration, electrophoretic protidogram, glycemia, azotemia (BUN), creatininemia, transaminases (sGOT, sGPT), bilirubinemia, cholestrolemia, triglyceridemia and possibly other analyses. The general relevance of these routine tests is listed in the Table below.
Standard blood tests are essential to assess organ functions: indeed, in many cases the physician may suspect a disease affecting a specifci organ, even though he may not have a clue on its cause: e.g. jaundice suggests a defect in liver function, increased azotemia (Blood Urea Nitrogen, BUN) suggests a defect in kidney function, perypheral oedema suggests cardiac failure, etc. Thus organ diagnosis is extremely important and helps focusing a more precise etiological diagnosis. The following table summarizes tests and laboratory evaluations that have been dealt with elsewhere in the course. IN some cases the same test may be applied to more than a single organ or system, and a differential diagnosis is required.
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