Many diseases and pathological processes cause abnormal accumulation of fluid within the body. To identify the cause, physicians send fluid samples to clinical laboratories for analysis. Laboratories use several diagnostic tools to study these samples, collect a matched blood specimen, and select appropriate tests.
In a recent article in Clinical Laboratory News, Darci Block, Ph.D., Director of Laboratory Services and Co-Director of the Central Clinical Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and Deanna Franke, Ph.D., MT(ASCP), Technical Specialist at Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte, North Carolina, presented a case study that provides an example of how physicians use body fluid results to diagnose, treat, and manage patients, and highlights the role of clinical laboratories in supporting patient care.
The case study features a 66-year-old female patient who presented to the emergency department complaining that she was having difficulty breathing on exertion. This patient denied any symptoms of nausea, vomiting, hemoptysis, fever, chills, cough, or abdominal pain. Ten years previously, she had had a renal transplant, but with immunosuppression, her kidney function was stable. Within the past two weeks, she had undergone cholecystectomy due to acute cholecystitis and cholelithiasis with calcification, and she had experienced minor complications, including increased abdominal pain and minor fluid buildup in her right upper quadrant. However, these symptoms had resolved by post-operative day six, and she was discharged home.