Many surgeons order routine laboratory tests before admission to the
hospital, or even before certain outpatient procedures, to identify
potential problems that might complicate surgery if not detected and
treated early. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA),
some of the most common tests performed before surgery (and possible
reasons/symptoms why they are performed) are included in the following list:
Chest X-rays - a diagnostic test which uses invisible
electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues,
bones, and organs onto film; may be used to help diagnose causes of
shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, fever of unknown origin, and
other abnormal heart, respiratory, and lung sounds.
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) - a test that records the
electrical activity of the heart, shows abnormal rhythms
(arrhythmias or dysrhythmias), detects heart muscle damage, and
helps determine the cause of chest pain, heart palpitations, and
Urinalysis - may be used to diagnose kidney
and bladder infections, and diabetes. A urinalysis can also detect
drugs present in the body.
White blood count - may be used
to diagnose fever of unknown origin, infection, and use of drugs
known to affect white blood counts.
The following tests, used on blood and urine specimens, measure
certain substances and electrolytes in the body:
Glucose - helps to identify causes of excessive sweating with
tremor or anxiety, muscle weakness, diabetes, pancreatitis, cystic
fibrosis, altered mental status, and alcoholism.
- helps to identify causes of vomiting, diarrhea, congestive heart
failure, muscle weakness, tissue damage, hypertension, and
Sodium - helps to identify causes of vomiting,
diarrhea, excessive sweating, dehydration, pulmonary disease,
central nervous system disease, congestive heart failure, and
cirrhosis of the liver.
If you have questions or concerns about any of the tests ordered by
your physician, and the importance of having them, be sure to address
them before having surgery.
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Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.
Stanford Health Care provides comprehensive services
to refer and track patients, as well as the latest information and
news for physicians and office staff. For help with all referral needs
and questions, visit Referring Physicians.
HOW TO REFER
Fax a referral form with supporting documentation to
Track your patients' progress and communicate with Stanford providers