blood tests

The following table lists commonly performed blood tests in pediatrics and what they monitor. They are listed in no particular order.
albumin Major blood protein. Monitors nutritional status, or sometimes kidney status in protein-losing kidney problems such as nephrotic syndrome.
alkaline phosphatase A liver enzyme, elevated in obstructive conditions of the liver.
amylase A pancreatic digestive enzyme. Elevated in pancreatitis, or with injury to the bowel.
ANA Antinuclear antibody. Basically a test for lupus and other auto-immune inflammatory diseases.
blood culture The bloodstream is normally sterile; a specimen of the patient's blood is incubated with a nutrient medium; if bacteria are present, the specimen will become cloudy with germs as they multiply rapidly.
blood count This means the complete blood count, or CBC.
liver enzymes Usually SGPT, SGOT, perhaps alkaline phosphatase. Injury to the liver from infection or obstruction of bile flow causes damage to the cells; they leak various enzymes into the blood stream; their detection in increased amounts means liver cell injury.
The major salts of the blood stream.
creatinine Another measure of the kidneys' ability to excrete waste. Comparing the excretion of creatinine to urea helps assess kidney function versus dehydration, for example.
hemoglobin A1C This is a test to determine how good a diabetic's long term blood sugar control is. Patients lie to their doctors all the time about their diabetes - but the A1C never lies.
bilirubin Test for level of jaundice. Ordered to monitor newborn jaundice, or suspected hepatitis.
BUN Blood urea nitrogen. A measure of the kidneys' ability to excrete urea, the chief waste product of protein breakdown. Elevated in renal failure; influenced by the amount of protein intake in the diet.
calcium Blood chemical necessary for proper nerve and muscle function, as well as "building strong bones 12 ways."
cortisol The body's natural stress-fighting and anti-inflammatory hormone.
ferritin An iron-carrying protein. A more accurate monitor of long term body iron status than the blood iron level, which varies with diet.
folate A B-vitamin.
glucose Blood sugar.
GOT, GPT (Or SGOT, SGPT) Liver enzymes. Elevated for a variety of reasons. Checked for suspected liver disease, also for suspected mononucleosis, or to monitor the effect of long term drug therapy on the liver(for example seizure medicines).
Hepatitis B surface antigen If positive, indicates hepatitis B carrier ("serum hepatitis").
H. pylori antibody Test for the causative organism of ulcers.
mono spot This is the rapid blood test for infectious mononucleosis.
magnesium A blood salt. Necessary for nerve function. Not ordered very often; usually in newborns.
potassium One of the serum electrolytes.
protein electrophoresis Test to determine the levels of the immune proteins (globulins, or antibodies), and albumin.
protime, PT Prothrombin time. A test of the blood clotting system. Also a general test of the liver's capacity to synthesis needed blood proteins.
PTT Partial prothrombin time. Another test of the blood clotting system.
RA latex Test for rheumatoid factor. Positive in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
sedimentation rate, sed rate A nonspecific measure of inflammatory response anywhere in the body; this test is elevated (above the normal range) in infections and a wide variety of so-called inflammatory diseases, for example rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn disease
T4 Thyroxine. The thyroid hormone. One of the screening tests performed on newborns; also ordered for known or suspected hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels) or hyperthyroidism (high thyroid levels)
TSH Thyroid stimulating hormone. If this is high, it indicates the thyroid gland is working overtime to produce thyroid hormone. An indicator or monitor of thyroid function.
uric acid The causative chemical of gout. In children, most often ordered to monitor chemotherapy effects (dying cancer cells can produce large amounts of uric acid).
serum porcelain Inside doctor joke. No such thing 8-)

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