List of Blood Test Abbreviations and their Uses

Any type of blood test is a laboratory analysis applied to an acquired blood sample. While it is primarily a diagnostic tool, blood tests serve other functions

blood test abbreviations

Whether you are about to undergo surgery or just a routine check-up, your physician might require different types of blood test.  Most of them come in abbreviations and at times, patients get confused which is for what. Here is a list of the most common blood test abbreviations and each of their uses.

What Blood Tests Are

Before looking at the list of blood test abbreviations and their uses, it is essential to know what these are.  Any type of blood test is a laboratory analysis applied to an acquired blood sample. While it is primarily a diagnostic tool, blood tests serve other functions which include:

  • Diagnose diseases and conditions (i.e. HIV, diabetes, anemia, cancer, etc.)
  • Identify drug or any other substance the patient has been taking
  • Evaluate organ function
  • Detect risk factors for conditions such as heart diseases and the like
  • Determine blood clotting ability

How to Blood Tests are Done

While yes, blood tests are pretty much routine, given that there are so many types, you probably will get confused when you see a whole list of blood test abbreviations.  Preparation varies from type to type as well. There are some tests that you can get directly without having to do anything. Others require fasting for about eight to twelve hours.  Make sure you get instructions from your doctor so you can do the test right.

As routinely done, a small sample of blood is drawn from the patient.  Usually, a prick of a finger will do. However, if it is necessary to draw more, the arm is the ideal location to draw more blood. The procedure is relatively painless and will not take too long.  No side effects have been reported from taking any type of blood test. If ever there is, it is very minor in nature and it peters out in no time without any need for medication.

Most Common Types

There are so many blood test types.  This is the reason why it can be quite challenging to keep track of the different blood test abbreviations, what they stand for, and what their uses are.  Here are some of the most common types that physician usually recommend for their patients.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

This is a usual requirement for a routine check-up and any other procedure whether it be minor or major.  This does a lot of things. It helps detect blood anomalies such as infection, blood clotting concerns, cancer, anemia, leukemia, thalassemia, and a compromised immune system among many others.  A CBC provides an accurate measurement of the following:

  • Red blood cells (carry oxygen from the lungs to the different parts of the body)
  • White blood cells  (part of the blood that protects the body from infections and diseases)
  • Platelets (blood cell part that helps blood clotting)
  • Hemoglobin (protein found in red blood cells that carry oxygenated blood to different parts of the body)
  • Hematocrit (the size of the space that red blood cells occupy in the patient’s blood)
  • Mean Corpuscular Volume (size of red blood cells)

Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)

Also known as Chem 7, BMP is one of the most common blood test abbreviations that you will encounter.  This group of tests basically determine the number of chemicals in your blood and how well some of the organs function.  Among the many chemicals that the BMP measures are:

  • Electrolytes
  • Calcium
  • Glucose
  • Creatinine
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Chloride
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Nitrogen

BMP is also used to check on liver, heart, and kidney functions.

Blood Enzyme Tests (BET)

These tests determine whether you are about to have a heart attack or just had one.  One type of BET is troponin. When there is a high amount of troponin in the blood, this is usually a precursory sign of a coming a heart attack.  Another type of BET is Creatine Kinase (CK-MB). Once there is an ample amount of CK-MB in the blood, it confirms that the patient just had a heart attack.

  • Prothrombin time (PT); Partial thromboplastin time (PTT); and international normalized ratio (INR).  These tests will show how well your blood clots.  
  • Liver Function Studies (LFT).  As the name suggests, it checks how well your liver functions.  A physician will typically give you tips to change your lifestyle and what medication to take if you have problems with your liver.  This will include:
    • Bilirubin
    • Aspartate Phosphatase
    • Alanine Aminotransferase
    • Alkaline Phosphatase
    • Albumin

Arterial Blood Gas (ABG)

This checks on how your respiratory system is working.  It can also determine the amount of oxygen in the blood.  It includes:

  • Acid/Base balance of blood sample
  • Carbon dioxide count
  • Oxygen count
  • Kidney function concerns
  • Lack or sufficiency of oxygen

Lipoprotein Panel (LP)

This tells whether you are at risk of any heart disease.  This covers:

  • Total cholesterol
  • Amount of bad cholesterol
  • Amount of good cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

You will need to prepare before undergoing LP. Typically, a patient who is about to do LP must fast for about nine to twelve hours before the actual test.

Blood Clotting Tests (BCT)

This identifies how well and how quick your blood clots.    It also will show if there is bleeding or inflammation in your body.  

It is important to note that physicians do not rely on blood tests alone.  To validate, they might conduct further tests to arrive at a correct diagnosis so that proper intervention can be done immediately.  Another essential point to stress is that you have to inform your physician if you are dieting, about to give birth, your current menstrual cycle, what medication you are taking, diet, and so on.  These are some factors that might affect the results so you should be upfront with your doctor so he or she can refine the outcome of the tests through further validation.

Understanding blood test abbreviations might be quite taxing, but it is essential to know that these are used to prevent confusion and to diagnose if there are some health concerns. Just make sure you consult your doctor so that you can prepare the most ideal way at least a day before your actual test.

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