As an RT I love to know what high and low lab values indicate. I also like to know what they indicate from my own perspective. You never know when your mother-in-law is going to call you for some medical advice pertaining so some lab result.
Therefore, I like to keep the following information close by just in case:
Lab tests & possible reasons for abnormal results:
(Critical values in parenthesis.)
- CK: greater than 200 (greater than 351-2000 critical) = Muscle damage (nonspecific)
- CKMB: greater than 2.5-3.0 (greater than 5.5) = Heart muscle damage
- Troponin: greater than 0.1 (greater than 0.4) = Heart muscle damage (most specific)
- ALK: greater than 136 = Liver or bone damage
- ALP: greater than 150 = Liver or bone damage
- AST: greater than 37 (greater than 200 critical) = Liver tissue damage (nonspecific)
- ALT: greater than 65 = Liver tissue damage (Specific for Hepatitis)
- Biliruben: greater than 1.0 = Liver cell damage (best indicator of liver function)
- Albumin: greater than 5.0 = Dehydration (best indicator of liver function)
less than 3.5 (less than 1.5) = Liver disease, shock, malnutrition
- Gamma-Gt: greater than 51 = CHF, liver damage
- BNP: greater than 100 = CHF = heart failure (300=mild, 600=mod, 900 severe)
OK = 125-450, less than 75 YO = 125, less than 75 YO = 450
- Glucose: greater than 120 (greater than 350) = Diabetes (greater than 150 = insulin protocol) less than 90 (less than 40)= Liver failure if not on Insulin (sepsis?)
- GFR: less than 60 (less than 29 critical) less than 15=Kidney failure
- BUN: greater than 18 (greater than 45 critical) = Kidney problems, CHF, shock, stress MI, dehydration, GI bleed less than 07 = Severe liver disease, malnutrition, over-hydrated
- Creatinin: greater than 1.7 (3.0 critical) = Kidney probs, dehydration, CHF, shock
- Sodium: greater than 145 (greater than 160 critical) = Dehydration
less than 136 (less than 120) Kidney disease, over-hydrated (edema), not
eating well, CHF, effects of Lasix, diarrhea, vomiting
sweating. (less than 126=critical, confusion, lethargy, seizures)
- Potassium: greater than 5.1 (greater than 6 critical) Kidney failure, massive tissue trauma, (post op), metabolic acidosis (diabetes), dehydration. less than 3.5 (less than 2.8) = Not enough in diet, gastro-intestinal disorder, vomiting. Due to Insulen, Lasix, dig, steroids?
- Magnesium: greater than 2.4(greater than 2.7) = Kidney failure, dehydration, diabetic acidosis less than 1.3 (less than1.0 critical) Malnourished (low intake), elderly, alcoholism, long-term diuretic use, diarrhea.
- Chloride: greater than107 = Dehydration, met acidosis, hypoventilation (alkalosis)
less than 98) = When Sodium low
- Calcium: greater than 10.1 (greater than 13) = Bone breaks, prolonged bed rest, etc.
less than 8.5 (less than 6) = Bone disease, malnutrition, alcoholism
- PTT/ PT: greater than 33/ greater than 12.7(greater than 60/greater than 40) = transfusion, therapeutic, DIC. PTT is one of the best measures of liver function. less than 24/less than 10 = Impaired clotting ability
- INR: greater than 1.2 (greater than 6) = Acute bleed, DIC or therapeutic.
- Fibrinogen: greater than 450 = Risk for heart disease (checked often) less than 160 (less than 70) = Acute bleed, liver disease, malnutrition, DIC
- D-Dimer: greater than 500 = DVT, PE, DIC, acute bleed, surgery, trauma
- Platelets: less than 80,000 = bleeding problems, Heparin, DIC alcoholic, leukemia (Vitamin K increases clotting)
- Phosphorus: greater than 4.1 (greater than 8) = Liver disease, Kidney failure, bone mets. less than 3.0 (less than 1.1) = Diabetic Keto-acidosis
- Uric Acid: greater than 7.0 = Acidosis, alcoholism, diabetes, Kidney failure
- Folic Acid: less than 2.0 = Malnutrition
- Lactic Acid: greater than 19.8 = Hypoxia, O2 deprivation, shock, CHF, tissue death increases when organs failing/dying (sepsis?)
- LDH (Lactate Dehydrogenase): greater than 136 (greater than 350 critical) = Nonspecific Tissue damage or death
- Osmology greater than 300 = Dehydration
- Hematocrit: greater than 47 = Dehydration
- Keytones: Positive test = Diabetes, starvation, vomiting, increased metabolism (fever, severe illness).
- Neutrophils: greater than 48-73% = increased levels of bacterial infection (acute)
a. Segs greater than 60 if new infection
b. Bands greater than 2% = worsening infection
- Eisinophils: greater than 2% with allergic reaction (associated with asthma).
- Lymphocytes: greater than 18-48% = may indicate viral infection (mono, measles, pox)
- Basophils: greater than 2% = allergic reaction
Check back from time to time, as I will probably add to this list.
For a printable cheat sheet with this information and more, click here.