What do Emergency Room Blood Tests Test for

Unless it is something trivial, a visit to the ER wouldn’t be complete without some type of blood test. This is why some blood has to be drawn from you every single time you are in the Emergency Room. The big question that many patients normally ask themselves is why the doctors and physicians always ask for a blood sample when you visit the emergency room. Why are blood tests important?

Human blood contains a lot of important elements and parts that are instrumental in the diagnosis of diseases and generally providing information on the health status of an individual. In an emergency room therefore, when you report an infection or a complication which the physician can’t instantly decipher by looking at you and considering the symptoms manifested, he/she resorts to a blood test to find out more about the infection or whatever it is that is bugging you. The tests are based on the red blood cells count, white blood cells count and other components contained in the plasma of the blood.

It is however important to realize that blood tests in the ER aren’t a given and sometimes a physician is able to treat you without necessarily drawing blood from you. You should not therefore freak out the next time you come into an ER with a toothache and the physician doesn’t draw blood from you. When the doctor sees it necessary to draw blood from you though, here are the basic types of blood tests that you are likely to encounter in the ER;

Complete Blood Count (CBC) Blood tests

They are ordered stat which comes from the Latin word statim which means immediately. A CBC provides a general picture of your blood levels. It’s typically ordered for complaints such as fatigue, weakness, inflammation, bruising, fever and bleeding. It is normally conducted when the physician thinks that you are in need of blood or wants to ascertain that the levels of blood are well above or within the threshold range.

Complete blood count is an automated count of the cells in your blood that includes information on the number, shape and size of your cells. Complete blood count provides vital information on the following components of human blood. 

White Blood Cell (WBC) -count helps to identify infection, immune problems, cancer and leukemia. If the numbers are high or low, further testing is usually required. We all know that the white blood cells are the soldiers of the body and are sent to the site of the infection to try and fight off any bacteria. If the infection is severe therefore, the number of white blood cells will be reduced and a white blood cell count will clearly indicate this.

Red Blood Cell (RBC) –If there is any concern whatsoever that you may have an infection or that you are experiencing anemia, a red blood cell count will automatically help to pick this up. Reduced red blood cell counts are a clear indication that one is ailing from a certain infection and anemia is a real threat.

Hemoglobin (HGB) – the other important check that is done when blood is taken for testing is the hemoglobin test/count. This measures the oxygen-carrying proteins in the blood. Hemoglobin is the protein contained in blood that is responsible for the transportation of oxygen to all the other body organs that need it. When the hemoglobin count is considered low, it indicates that there was blood loss and potentially anemia which can be life-threatening.

Hematocrit (HCT) – Hematocrit count measures the percentage of red blood cells in a given volume of blood. There is a certain percentage per volume of blood which is considered safe and below which physicians are forced to order a blood transfusion. If after a Hematocrit count the level is considered low, then the physician concludes that anemia is a real threat and treatment begins immediately. 

Platelets count –Platelets are instrumental in the blood clotting process and without them, wounds wouldn’t stop bleeding. A platelets count therefore is looked at to identify problems related to bleeding and clotting. It is especially instrumental if the victim was in an accident or was seriously injured and the physician wants proof that transfusion is necessary.

Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)- Basic metabolic panel checks the electrolyte and mineral levels in the blood that are so important for keeping your muscles, heart, kidneys and other organs working properly.

Besides the diagnosis of infections, blood tests are used by the physicians to create a health profile for patients. Blood tests are used to provide information on the blood type of the patient, their diabetes status and is also used in DNA tests.

For more information on blood tests and why we always conduct them, give us a call here at Bellaire Emergency Room and we will gladly provide more information on the same. We offer a range of quality emergency rooms and it is no surprise that the locals have made us their number one ER.