Which Types of Testing are Performed in the Various Departments of PCL?

PCL has the following four major Departments: Pre – Analytical, Specimen Processing, Hematology, Clinical Chemistry, and transfusion medicine (also called immunohematology or blood banking).  Within each of these areas, many different analytes are assayed using a variety of analytical approaches.  A brief description of the scientific focus of each of these areas and examples of some of the methodologies and commonly encountered clinical syndromes in each of the major areas follow.

Microbiology & Molecular Biology

PCL Microbiology Department is the area that examines patients’ samples for agents of infectious diseases.  The specimen material includes samples from wounds, noses/throats, blood and body fluids, and many other body sites.  The agents that are detected may be bacteria (aerobic, anaerobic, acid fast), fungi (molds and yeasts), parasites, or viruses. DNA-probe technology has been shown to be more sensitive and specific leading to improved outcomes.

Hematology & Coagulation

The Hematology and Coagulation Department of PCL performs testing in the areas of complete blood counts (CBC), routine coagulation, urinalysis, and cellular identification utilizing state-of-the-art equipment. This Department offers basic evaluation of bleeding disorders by performing protime (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), and fibrinogen. Our Hematology and Coagulation Department provides a broad catalogue of items for thrombosis and other hemostasis conditions testing.

Toxicology

The Toxicology Department of PCL use state of art instrument to perform Urine drug screen. Assays for various categories of drugs of abuse such as Opiates, Amphetamines, Cocaine, PCP, Barbiturates, Methadone, Ecstasy and others are conducted rapidly with automated methods, and the results are quickly communicated back to the Providers. In addition, the Toxicology Department at PCL monitors levels of therapeutic drugs to ensure that the patient is receiving the correct dose. 

Specimen Processing

Specimen Processing is one of the first critical pre-analytical steps in laboratory medicine. At PCL, patient samples are checked for proper identification, specimen integrity, and accessioned into laboratory computer system. Specimens are sorted and distributed to the appropriate testing areas. This Department helps us to enhance our turnaround time performance by moving specimens as needed to centrifuges and then onto an automated running area. 

Clinical Chemistry

The Chemistry Department of PCL offers tests that deals mainly with metabolic and endocrine ailments (e.g. cholesterol, glucose, thyroid tests). Test menus are tailored to the pediatric and adolescent populations and include traditional chemistry testing, therapeutic drug monitoring, organ panels and urine toxicology screening. At PCL Chemistry Department, samples are checked for various chemical components.  When humans are in a state of good health, the levels of various body chemicals fall within highly predictable ranges.  In disease, the levels of these chemicals change, thus signaling the disease process. 

Pre - Analytical

The Pre – Analytical Department at PCL includes the specimen collecting service. All specimen collections for laboratory tests on blood and urine are coordinated by personnel in this Department. Specially trained individuals are scheduled to coordinate and perform venous and capillary punctures, H. Pylori Breath Test and perform glucose screening. All staff in the section are responsible for collecting blood for different protocols, which have been approved by the Laboratory Director. The responsibility of the Pre – Analytical Department is not only to collect specimens on a routine basis but also to ensure consistent phlebotomy quality and to evaluate new specimen collection devices, collection processes, and transport receptacles.

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