Lab Tests Online-UK

Lab Tests Online-UK is written by practising laboratory doctors and scientists to help you understand the many clinical laboratory tests that are used in diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of disease. The about this site page describes how the site can help you. Search under conditions and diseases and find information on laboratory tests used for particular diagnosis and/or management or alternatively, if you know the test name, just search under tests.

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Topics in the News

Not all testing is good, and some can be harmful

11 March 2015

Lab Tests Online-UK has published a series of articles on unvalidated and misleading laboratory tests. It is important that members of the public are made aware that these sorts of tests are increasingly available to purchase directly without consulting any qualified health professionals. Please click on the link above for the full article.

Can a laboratory test help smokers decide how to stop?

3 February 2015

There is variation in the way that individuals respond to two of the most effective treatments to give up smoking: nicotine patches and the prescription drug varenicline. Researchers from the US and Canada reported online in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine on 11 January 2015 the results of a randomised controlled trial of these two treatments. Individuals were classed as either ‘normal’ or ‘slow’ metabolisers of nicotine on the basis of a laboratory test result: the ratio of the plasma concentrations of the nicotine breakdown products, conitine and 3’-hydroxyconitine. The authors concluded that treating normal metabolisers with varenicline and slow metabolisers with nicotine patches could maximise the number quitting while minimising the side effects of treatment.

Improving the diagnosis of heart attack in women

3 February 2015

Muscle damage releases proteins called troponins into the bloodstream. Recently, highly sensitive and reproducible assays for serum heart-specific troponin have become available. Last year the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended that they could be used to help rule out a heart attack. NICE recognised that the upper limit of normal of the new tests may be lower in women than men. Researchers have now compared a standard and a new high-sensitivity troponin test both with and without a lower diagnostic value for women than for men to find out whether diagnosis can be improved. They investigated 1126 consecutive patients who presented to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh with a suspected heart attack. Their conclusion, published online in the British Medical Journal on 21 January 2015, was that the high-sensitivity troponin test with a sex specific diagnostic value may double the diagnosis of heart attack in women and identify those at high risk of a further heart attack and death.

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Lab Tests Online-UK was established in 2003 with the aid of a grant from the Health Foundation and was financially supported by the Department of Health. Lab Tests Online-UK is currently funded by the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine, the Royal College of Pathologists and the Institute of Biomedical Science.