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CTCA at Southwestern Regional Medical Center’s Clinical Laboratory performs diagnostic testing in remarkable turnaround time. Most testing is performed as it is received within the Laboratory. The department has more than 30 experienced employees. Key divisions of the Laboratory include processing and phlebotomy, chemistry, blood bank, hematology and microbiology.
Laboratory results drive many of the decisions made in patient care. It all begins with phlebotomists, who draw the blood for testing.
Each month, we collect and analyze approximately 4,000 blood samples. We perform laboratory testing on 90 percent of the samples; the remaining samples are sent to a reference laboratory.
One of the major tests this division performs is tumor marker tests. Tumor markers are utilized to detect the presence of cancer and to monitor a patient’s response to therapy. Tumor markers are blood-borne substances produced by cancer cells.
Our turnaround time for tumor marker testing is approximately two hours, from the time the blood is drawn until the Laboratory has completed testing.
One specialty within the Laboratory is transfusion medicine, otherwise known as the blood bank. Medical technologists in the blood bank are responsible for insuring that blood products given to patients are compatible with each patient’s blood.
Our state-of-the-art, blood bank computer system provides instant access to thousands of patient and donor records. In addition, Southwestern Regional Medical Center is one of a few hospitals in the state of Oklahoma to provide electronic cross-matching capability. This process offers another level of safety for patients who need transfusions.
Hematology is the study of blood cells. Tests performed by this team include complete blood counts (CBC), differentials, body fluid analysis and bone marrow procedures. These tests provide vital information for treating our patients. The results are used to monitor the general health of patients. Cancer therapy typically attacks rapidly growing cancer cells. Blood cells are also affected by cancer therapy. CBCs are used to gage a patient’s ability to receive additional therapy.
Approximately 2,000 CBC/differential tests are performed by the hematology group each month. CBCs are helpful in confirming anemias (low red blood cell numbers), infections (high white blood cell numbers), bleeding disorders (low platelet numbers) and to some extent, bone marrow activity. Bone marrow is the main source of blood cell production.
CBC analysis is performed on an analyzer using laser technology, which measures the reflection of the laser light from each individual cell, and in turn, provides cell identification.
This division of the Laboratory is responsible for the isolation and identification of infectious agents. It also provides testing that aids physicians in choosing the appropriate antibiotic therapy. The Microbiology team informs caregivers when patients have highly infectious agents that are easily spread to other individuals.