Medical Laboratory

Medical Laboratory


A medical laboratory or clinical laboratory is a laboratory where tests are done on clinical specimens in order to get information about the health of a patient as pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.


Laboratory medicine is generally divided into two sections, and each of which is further divided into a number of units. These two sections are:

Anatomic Pathology: units included here are histopathology, cytopathology, and electron microscopy. Academically, each unit is studied alone in one course. Other courses pertaining to this section include anatomy, physiology, histology, pathology, and pathophysiology.

Clinical pathology, including:

Clinical Microbiology:

This encompasses five different sciences (units). These include bacteriology, virology, parasitology, immunology, and mycology.

Clinical Chemistry:

Units under this busy section include instrumental analysis of blood components, enzymology, toxicology and endocrinology.


This section consists of automated and manual analysis of blood cells. It includes two subunits, which are coagulation and blood bank.

Genetics is also studied along with a subspecialty known as cytogenetics.

Reproduction biology: Semen analysis, Sperm bank and assisted reproductive technology.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the responsibilities of each unit:

Microbiology receives almost any clinical specimen, including swabs, feces, urine, blood, sputum, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, as well as possible infected tissue. The work here is mainly concerned with cultures, to look for suspected pathogens which, if found, are further identified based on biochemical tests. Also, sensitivity testing is carried out to determine whether the pathogen is sensitive or resistant to a suggested medicine. Results are reported with the identified organism(s) and the type and amount of drug(s) that should be prescribed for the patient.

Parasitology is a microbiology unit that investigates parasites. The most frequently encountered specimen here is feces. However, blood, urine, sputum, and other samples may also contain parasites.

Virology is concerned with identification of viruses in specimens such as blood, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid.

Hematology works with whole blood to do full blood counts, and blood films as well as many other specialized tests.

Coagulation requires citrated blood samples to analyze blood clotting times and coagulation factors.

Clinical Biochemistry usually receives serum or plasma. They test the serum for chemicals present in blood. These include a wide array of substances, such as lipids, blood sugar, enzymes, and hormones.

Toxicology mainly tests for pharmaceutical and recreational drugs. Urine and blood samples are submitted to this lab.

Immunology/Serology uses the concept of antigen-antibody interaction as a diagnostic tool. Compatibility of transplanted organs is also determined.

Immuno-haematology, or Blood bank determines blood groups, and performs compatibility testing on donor blood and recipients. It also prepares blood components, derivatives, and products for transfusion. Regulated by the FDA since giving blood is considered a drug, this unit determines a patient’s blood type and Rh status, checks for antibodies to common antigens found on red blood cells, and cross matches units that are negative for the antigen.

Histopathology processes solid tissue removed from the body (biopsies) for evaluation at the microscopic level.

Cytopathology examines smears of cells from all over the body (such as from the cervix) for evidence of inflammation, cancer, and other conditions.

Cytogenetics involves using blood and other cells to get a karyotype. This can be helpful in prenatal diagnosis (e.g. Down’s syndrome) as well as in cancer (some cancers have abnormal chromosomes).

Surgical pathology examines organs, limbs, tumors, fetuses, and other tissues biopsied in surgery such as breast mastectomy.


There so many subjects of medical knowledge relating to each other, especially in medical laboratory. We cannot separate them from one another. In this context, we can find the focus of each of the subjects above at a glance.


1. What is medical laboratory?

2. How many sections does laboratory medicine have?

3. Give simple definition of:

a. Microbiology

b. Parasitology

c. Hematology

d. Virology

e. Histopathology

Dosen Pengampu




By aaknasional Posted in Inggris

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