How is Blood Tested in A Blood Laboratory?
When you give a sample of your blood for testing, we’re sure you wonder what exactly the technicians do with the sample. Though we know they test the sample to determine an infection, disease or allergy. But how is it done is what is more interesting.
What happens To the Blood?
Collection: The first step of every test is to collect a sample or specimen of the component that needs to be examined. A technician or nurse draws blood from one of the veins in special sample tubes. Depending upon the number of tests that need to be run, the technician or nurse may draw out blood in a number of tubes. Once the sample is collected, it is duly labelled with necessary information and is sent to the blood laboratory for further speculation.
Processing: This is the second stage of blood testing. The sample is studied for symptoms the patient is suffering from and reports are churned out. In some special cases, cells are separated from the liquid portion of the blood to prepare it for testing. The two components are then studied in depth.
Testing: A laboratory has different segments that specialize in determining different kinds of diseases, infections and allergies.
· Chemistry: The Chemistry section of laboratory tests blood and body liquid for the presence of drugs, chemicals and any kind of substances that may indicate the presence of a disease in the body. Tests related to Cholesterol, Diabetes, Cyclosporine etc. are examined here.
· Hematology: This section of the laboratory analyses the functions of plasma and blood cells. Tests performed here include Complete Blood Count, Haemoglobin A1c, White Blood Cell Differential, Sickle Cell Screen, etc.
· Microbiology: The section conducts tests against patients suffering from a kind of infection caused by fungi, bacteria or parasites. Example of Microbiology tests include Blood Culture, Bacterial Antigens, Fungus Smear, etc.
· Virology: As the name suggests, it’s the part of the blood laboratory that tests for the presence of viral infection in the body. Examples of tests include tests against HIV, Influenza, molecular test for Noroviruses, etc.
· Immunology: Here, a wide range of complex tests are performed. These are typically done to determine proper functionality of the immune system. Examples include Autoantibody Screening, Basal Ganglia Antibody test, ANA, Immunoglobulin test, etc.
· Blood Transfusion: Blood transfusion is done at the Blood Bank. The blood laboratory checks the blood type of the patients and issues blood products needed for treatments. It also tests samples to get assurance on the safety of transfused blood.
Reporting: Once the necessary tests are done, results are analysed and proper reports are prepared for the physicians to determine the problem and suggest medication. Depending upon the type of test to be conducted, the length of time between the samples collected and report prepared can widely vary, from a few hours to several days.