Reference ranges and what they mean

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Why are there few reference ranges included on this website?

With all this talk of reference ranges, you may notice that very few are included on this website. There are several reasons we chose not to include them:

  1. For most tests, the exact reference ranges are set by the laboratory that produces the test results. Different laboratories use different kinds of equipment and different kinds of testing methods. That means they have to establish their own ranges, and will provide your test result with an accompanying reference range that is appropriate to that laboratory. The doctor should therefore apply the reference range supplied by the laboratory which performed the test rather than that used by another laboratory or one given in a book. This is slowly changing through a process called “harmonisation” where laboratories are working to standardise testing methods so that all laboratories will use the same reference ranges. With the advent of electronic medical records this has become a much higher priority in the laboratory community.

  2. We want you to be informed but we cannot pretend to take the place of communication with your doctor. We want you to understand what the test is and how it can be used, but because we can't be aware of all the factors that could affect your test results we can't interpret the results. If you need further explanation of your results, you should talk to your doctor.

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