Understanding Common Blood Tests and What They Mean


Understanding Common Blood Tests and What They Mean

Blood tests may be requested by the doctor if you are undergoing surgery, even a small procedure. While it is preferable to leave the interpretation of blood tests to a doctor, it may be useful to understand what the test is looking for and what is a “normal” result.

Countless blood tests may be done in a lab, but the most typical ones are those that are done regularly prior to and after surgery; they are pretty standard and shouldn’t raise any red flags.

The doctor aims to discover any issues that can lead to avoidable difficulties and make sure the patient is as healthy as possible before the treatment. Blood testing is frequently performed following surgery to check for bleeding and to ensure that the organs are recovering properly.

These tests are frequently carried out consistently, often the night following surgery. The majority of the time, these tests show that everything is going well following surgery, therefore this does not imply that there is a likelihood that something is wrong.

Blood tests will likely be performed more often for patients in the ICU. A daily or perhaps more regular arterial blood gas draw is to be expected if you happen to be on a ventilator.

Chem 7

This test, which is also referred to as blood chemistry, basic metabolic panel or chemistry panel, examines the levels of vital enzymes in the blood as well as analyzes kidney function. Additionally, this test measures the blood glucose level, which can help determine whether a person needs additional diabetic testing.

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The 7 tests included are:

  • Serum glucose
  • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Creatinine
  • Serum chloride
  • Serum potassium
  • Serum sodium


The different blood cells that constitute whole blood are examined by a complete blood count (CBC). A CBC can show the doctor whether the body is producing the correct number of every cell type, as well as any indications of an infection that has recently occurred, along with any clotting or bleeding problems.

The CBC test may be requested by the surgeon following surgery to determine whether a blood transfusion is necessary or to check for infection.

A CBC includes:

  • Red blood cell count (RBC)
  • White blood cell count (WBC)
  • Platelet count (Plt)
  • Hematocrit
  • Hemoglobin

An H&H is comparable to a CBC however looks only at the hematocrit and hemoglobin levels

PT, PTT, and INR

The ability of your blood to clot is examined by these tests, which are together referred to as a coagulation panel. Surgery, where bleeding is frequently anticipated, might be problematic due to a disordered clotting capacity.

In order to avoid considerable bleeding during the surgery, it might be essential to postpone surgery if the results suggest reduced clotting ability. This examination may also be used to keep track of blood-thinning drugs.

Liver Enzymes

LFTs, or liver function tests, are performed to ascertain whether the liver is operating normally. It’s critical to ascertain the liver’s health before the procedure because it involves normal blood clotting and eliminating anaesthetic from the bloodstream. Increased numbers may be a sign of liver disease or impaired liver function.

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A GGT test may be added to the liver panel as an extra test. This test can not specifically state what kind of damage is present, although it can show whether the liver or nearby ducts have been damaged.

A regular liver function study includes:

  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), also called SGPT
  • Aspartate phosphatase (AST), also called SGOT
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
  • Direct bilirubin
  • Total bilirubin
  • Albumin
  • Indirect bilirubin

ABO Typing

The term used in medicine to identify a patient’s blood type is ABO typing. This is done beforehand so that blood can be given during surgery, if necessary. The majority of surgeries do not necessitate blood transfusions, although some operations, including on-pump heart bypass surgery, do so often.

Even if a transfusion is not a regular element of the process, you may be requested to sign a consent form for the administration of blood prior to your surgery in case a situation calls for it.

Blood Culture and Sensitivity

In order to create a blood culture, a little quantity of your blood must be drawn into a container containing sterile culture material that “feeds” bacteria. After several days, the sample is examined to see if germs are developing while being kept warm. It is possible that the same germs if they are growing, are also developing in your blood.

If the bacteria multiply, they are then exposed to various medications to see which one will best treat your infection. This is a scientific method of selecting the appropriate antibiotic for your infection, without having to give you various antibiotics and anticipate one of them works.

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The healthcare professional is ultimately in charge of interpreting the results and deciding how to react to them, even if it is helpful to have a general awareness of test results and what they imply.

Don’t feel as though you have to comprehend every fine detail of your lab findings because deciphering lab results is an ability that can only be learned through time. You should pay close attention while the provider is articulating their strategy for handling your care because this is what matters the most.


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