Book

Primary Care and Laboratory Medicine: Frequently Asked Questions

Primary Care and Laboratory Medicine
  • Copyright:2011
  • ISBN:9780902429468
  • Pages:258

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Laboratory investigations are part of the diagnosis and monitoring of a large proportion of diseases encountered in primary care and are increasing in number and complexity. This increase, however, does not seem to be matched by greater teaching of laboratory medicine in medical and nursing schools; if anything, such teaching has declined.

This book sets out to consider a wide range of questions that are frequently asked of laboratory medicine specialists by primary care practioners. It is intended as a guide for doctors, nurses, those in training, and perhaps also the laboratory specialist who is looking for brief guidance on unfamiliar topics. In many cases, the questions have no single right answer, but what is offered is a review of the guidance available nationally and internationally to seek to offer ?the best answer we can.?

When a test result is obviously very abnormal, it usually provides a clear indication of the next course of action required, whether this be referral or treatment. Less pronounced abnormalities, however, are far more difficult to interpret and, because of uncertainty over the implications of the result, may often lead to patient referral or, at the very least, concern. Among the many topics considered here, we have tried to pay particular attention to the ?slightly abnormal? result and to guide practitioners through the further management options.

As always, few test results point to an immediate course of action and the interpretation of any result must always take into account the individual patient?s symptoms and underlying health. That said, we hope the guidance in this book will provide some practical ways forward in dealing with the more common problems that arise in primary care.