Pathology and Laboratory Services - New York/New Jersey VA Health Care Network
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New York/New Jersey VA Health Care Network


Pathology and Laboratory Services

test tubs with blood
 For More Information
Lab Contacts
Lab Hours of Operation
 Frequently Asked Questions
 Related Resources
   American Society of Clinical Pathologists: ASCP *
  College of American Pathologists: CAP *
   The Joint Commission *
  American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science: ASCLS *
  American Association of Blood Banks *
  VA Hepatitis C Research & Education
  The Virtual Hospital *
  NCCLS on the Web *
  Lab Tests Online: Information About Clinical Lab Tests *
  Medscape *
  WebElements Periodic Table *
  The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy *

Hematology: The study of the elements in the blood.
  • Red Blood Cell Count (RBC): Red cells in the blood are counted.
  • White Blood Cell Count (WBC): White blood cells in the blood are counted.
  • Differential Count (DIFF): The different types of white blood cells are counted.
  • Hematocrit (HCT): The percentage of red blood cells in the total blood volume.
  • Hemoglobin (HgB): The amount of hemoglobin in the blood (HgB carries oxygen).
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): Includes RBC, WBC, DIFF, Hct, and HgB.
Coagulation: Includes tests that study clotting.
  • Prothrombin time (PT): A measure of the time it takes blood to clot.
  • Platelet Count (PLT): A measure of the number of platelets in a blood sample (platelets are needed for clotting).
Chemistry: The study of substances carried in the blood.
  • Glucose, cholesterol, drugs and poisons, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), uric acid, bilirubin.
  • Blood Chemistry Profile: Involves using a special machine to test for several of these substances at once.
Serology: The study of antigen/antibody response.
  • Antigens are substances that cause a blood or tissue reaction. Antibodies are produced to fight antigens.
  • Blood may be tested for evidence of exposure to disease. For example, the detection of antibodies to HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) means that a person is infected with HIV and can infect others.
  • Blood tests may also check for Enzymes (used to diagnose a heart attack) and Microbes (bacteria, viruses, etc that can cause a variety of conditions).
Transfusion Service: Provides safe and compatible blood and blood products to our veteran patients who require transfusion support.
  • ABO/Rh Typing: Determines blood type.
  • Antibody Screen: Checks for unexpected red cell antibodies in patient's specimen.
  • Crossmatch: Matches compatible blood for transfusion to patient.
  • Direct Coombs: Tests for antibodies coating red cells.
  • Red Blood Cells: Transfused to provide extra oxygen carrying capacity.
  • Plasma: Transfused to provide missing or depleted coagulation factors.
  • Platelets: Transfused to provide extra platelets to help prevent bleeding.
Microbiology: The study of infectious diseases.
  • Culture (Bacterial): The examination of patient specimens for the presence of disease-causing (pathogenic) bacteria.
  • Susceptibility Test: Determining which of several antibiotics might prove effective in curing a bacterial infection.
  • Fungal Culture: The testing of patient specimens for the presence of pathogenic yeasts and molds.
  • Ova and Parasite: The microscopic examination of patient stool specimens for the presence of intestinal parasites.
  • AFB: Screening respiratory specimens for tuberculosis.
  • Urine tests also give important information. Samples may be taken at the time of the test, at regular intervals over a period of time, or in other ways.
  • Urine tests may check for Glucose, Ketones, Blood, Bilibubin, Protein, etc.
Other Tests/Procedures:
  • Biopsy: A tissue sample is taken using a needle or minor surgical technique, usually under local anesthesia. Biopsy is used to detect certain infections, cancers and other conditions.
  • Throat Culture: Cells are taken from the throat and placed on a "culture medium," where bacteria are grown for identification-usually over 24 hours. Throat cultures are used to confirm bacterial infections, such as "strep throat."
  • Spinal Tap: Fluid (CSF) is taken from the spine using a needle, under local anesthesia. The fluid is used to detect infections, tumors and other brain and nerve problems.
  • Stool Sample: Different tests may be used to check for bacteria, parasites and other organisms, or for hidden (occult) blood. Blood may indicate ulcer, hemorrhoids, cancer or other conditions.
  • Sputum Test: The patient is usually asked to cough up thick fluid (sputum) from the lungs. The sample is used to detect certain infections, including tuberculosis, and sometimes cancer.
  • Gastric Analysis: A tube is inserted into the stomach, through the nose and throat. The tube may be left in place for an hour or longer, while samples of stomach fluid are taken. The test checks for ulcers or other conditions.

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