Lab tests are done on different types of specimens. The two most common specimens sampled are blood and urine. Tests may also need to be performed at specific times and/or on fasting specimens.
These are simple examples of just a few of the possible lab tests and collection methods you may expect for your lab work. Your physician will give you any specific instructions your tests require.
Results of your tests will be sent directly to your physician. Patients may receive separate bills from Huntsville Hospital and any physician whose services are required for example Pathologists, Radiologists, etc.
- Fasting Specimens
- Fasting Specimens are collected in the early morning after no food or drink has been consumed during the previous 12 hours. Some lab tests may also require that smoking, exercise, or medication be eliminated prior to testing. Your physician will inform you of any special requirements needed for your testing.
- Blood Specimens
- Blood specimens are collected by venipuncture or fingerstick. Venipuncture is performed by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm. Blood is collected in a syringe or tube(s). For some tests, a fingerstick specimen may be adequate. This procedure is performed by pricking a finger. Very little discomfort is associated with either a venipuncture or a fingerstick procedure. The amount of blood collected is dependent on the type and number of tests ordered.
- Urine Specimens
- Urine is the second most common type of specimen analyzed. There are various methods of collection based on your sex and the test(s) ordered. Your physician, or other medical professional, will instruct you on how to properly collect a urine specimen.
- Other Specimens
- Additional specimens tested include stool, sputum, throat swabs and many others as directed by your physician.
- Multiple Specimens
- More than one specimen is frequently needed for complete testing. One test that requires multiple specimens is the glucose tolerance test. This test is used to detect possible blood sugar problems. It is performed on a fasting patient. A special drink is consumed with a known amount of glucose. Blood is then drawn at designated intervals over an extended period (usually every 1/2 to one hour for three hours). Urine specimens may also be required.
- Special Testing Procedures
- Some lab tests require special testing procedures. One example is a bleeding time study. This test is used to detect possible bleeding problems. The lab technologist will make one or two small incisions on the inside of the forearm and monitor the amount of time it takes for the bleeding to stop.
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