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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Laboratory Testing

A laboratory test is a medical procedure in which a sample of blood, urine or other tissue or substance in the body is measured for certain features. Such tests are often used as part of a routine check-up to identify possible changes in a person’s health before any symptoms appear.

Laboratory tests also play an important role in achieving a diagnosis when a person has symptoms. In addition, laboratory tests may be used to help plan a patient’s treatment, evaluate the response to treatment or monitor the course of the disease over time.

Internet Resources

MedlinePlus: Laboratory Tests
Developed at the National Library of Medicine specifically for consumers, this site has trusted sources of information from both government-sponsored and private organizations.

Lab Tests Online
Lab Tests Online has been designed to help patients and caregivers better understand the many clinical lab tests that are part of routine care as well as the diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of conditions and diseases. Developed and maintained by the American Association of Clinical Chemistry.

ARUP Consult
This site provides disease and laboratory test correlation for a number of diseases and laboratory tests. ARUP Laboratory is a national clinical and anatomic pathology reference laboratory affiliated with the University of Utah and its Department of Pathology.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Quick Tips – When Getting Medical Tests
This site provides information to help you make decisions about medical tests including laboratory tests. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality mission is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans.


  • Laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures. Chernecky C. 2008
  • Manual of laboratory and diagnostic tests. Wilson D. 2008
  • Interpretation of diagnostic tests. Wallach J. 2007
  • Tietz clinical guide to laboratory tests. Wu A. 2006
  • Consumer’s guide to laboratory tests. Ricotta M. 2005

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Alberto Culver Health Learning Center at 312-926-5465, or e-mail us at HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateNovember 1, 2012