Leighton, S. Online resources for lab tests & their interpretation, Don't Forget the Bubbles, 2013. Available at:
We outline a few useful online resources for laboratory tests and their interpretation.
This is an excellent resource from the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. It is an exhaustive online catalogue of tests offered in their Biochemistry, Haematology, Immunology, Microbiology and other laboratory departments. As an official NHS site aimed at healthcare professionals, it is regularly updated with the latest guidance.
- Reference ranges for adults and children by sex and age in S.I. units – these may vary slightly from your local population demographics.
- Tube selection – i.e. clotted, citrate, fluoride etc. Again, these may occasionally vary from your local lab but are surprisingly universal.
- Sample requirements and information about test interpretation. This is especially useful for more obscure tests.
While the style of the website is slightly dated, it works well. There is an easy A to Z index navigation scheme, a search box and also the ability to drill down by department.
This is another great resource for laboratory tests containing much of the same information as the NHS Brighton & Sussex site. The site is a slicker and more
commercial American affair. However, it offers a great alternative to those using non-S.I. units.
- You can browse by disease or by test name and by using a search box.
- Again ranges are broken down by age and sex.
- The test catalogue is perhaps even more exhaustive.
- Tube selection is included and each test interpretation section is thorough.
My main criticisms are that the site is less relevant to my clinical practice in the UK NHS, while, sifting through the vast amounts of information can be overwhelming.
Cardiff Toxicology Labs
This is a simple but useful site with information of a vast range of toxicology tests including some very obscure. Reference ranges, tube selection and test information are again detailed.
This is a brilliant resource on laboratory testing aimed at patients and the general public. It tells patients in what the test is for and what it involves in simple ‘layman’s’ terms. Better still, the information is noncommercial and peer-reviewed.
The site is an international effort with specific versions for the UK, US, Australian and a number of other countries. It looks lovely and has a great navigation system by universal search, by test, by condition or by screen. There is specific information on tests for neonates, children, adolescents and adults.
I find it a great and trustworthy source of digestible information to point concerned parents or patients to. Reference ranges are deliberately not provided so as not to cause concern to people unable to interpret their meaning.
Do you use any online lab test resources that we have missed? Please tell us about them in the comments below!